Given how prevalent heart disease has become in American society, and how many people die of heart ailments, the American Heart Association has come up with a list of seven steps that people can take to improve their heart health.
1. Stop Smoking
While tobacco usage has declined significantly from previous decades, there are still tens of millions of smokers in this country. Smokers have a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases, so just quitting smoking is enough to drastically decrease your risk of death.
2. Eat Better
Diet is one aspect of our health that we’re fully in control of. Eating a healthy diet is good not only for heart health but also for losing weight, since obesity is another factor that increases your risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases.
3. Get Active
Along with a healthy diet, staying active is important in staying fit. Just moving around, going for a walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator will get your blood flowing and keep your heart protected.
4. Lose Weight
Unless you’re in a sport in which extra weight is beneficial, hauling around extra pounds puts more stress on your heart. Keeping your weight to a reasonable and manageable level will improve your heart health.
5. Manage Blood Pressure
There are some people who have hereditary high blood pressure, but for most of us high blood pressure results from a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet choices. Get active, eat well, and keep your blood pressure at safe levels.
6. Control Cholesterol
High cholesterol levels can contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries that can cause heart disease and stroke. If your cholesterol levels are out of control, see what you can do to get them in line.
7. Reduce Blood Sugar
High blood sugar can be a sign of the onset of diabetes, which carries numerous health complications. Excessively high levels of sugar in the blood can damage many of the body’s organs over time.
Following these seven simple steps can help anyone to manage their health and stave off many of the worst effects of heart disease.