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Lower Your Risk

A U.S. citizen develops heart disease about every 43 seconds, but did you know that by making life style changes you can decrease the likelihood of heart disease affecting your life. There are five simple steps you can do, starting today, to lower your risk of heart disease.

Act now to lower your risk of heart disease

eat healthyEat a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables

Reserve half your plate for fruits and vegetables and a fourth for healthy proteins like fish, poultry and beans. Reduce your consumption of added sugars and fats. Limit daily sodium intake to 1500 mg. Keep processed foods like chips, crackers and frozen meals to a minimum.

 

exerciseExercise daily

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. While this might sound like a lot, it can be accomplished by breaking it down in easier-to-digest 30 minute time frames five times a week, or 25 minutes three times a week. Strength training is also recommended twice a week.

 

keep a healthy weightKeep your weight in check

Maintaining a healthy weight helps lower your risk for stroke. Some easy ways to maintain your weight include:

        • Eat slowly. By not rushing you'll reduce the urge for a second helping.
        • Don't eat distracted. If you're eating make that your primary focus. Avoid reading or watching TV while dining so you don't mindlessly consume extra calories.
        • Steam your veggies. Substitute steamed vegetables seasoned with fresh lemon and herbs for buttered potatoes, rice or pasta side dishes.
        • Avoiding cleaning your plate. When dining out, before you dig in, get half your meal wrapped up to go. Another option, when possible, is to order a smaller portion.
 

know your numbersKnow your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar numbers

High blood pressure and high cholesterol are precursors for stroke. Likewise, high blood sugar can indicate diabetes, which also increases your risk. Discuss your levels with your doctor to find out if they are within a healthy range.

 

quit smokingStop smoking

Smoking can increase your blood pressure and HDL cholesterol. If you have never smoked, don't start. If you're a smoker, talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement options, such as medication.