Preventing Heart Disease: 5 Surefire Strategies

When it comes to your health, what you don't know can hurt you. Read on for five helpful tips that can lower your health risk.

Health Monitor Staff
Reviewed by
Philip Levy, MD
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Did you know that you could have high blood pressure (HBP), high cholesterol or diabetes and not have a clue? When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, they found that nearly 1 in 7 adults‚ or 15%‚ had at least one risk factor for heart disease that hadn't been diagnosed.

That lack of knowledge can be dangerous, because until you know something's amiss, you can't do anything to fix it. In addition to discussing the risk factors with your doctor, you can do plenty to reduce your chances of developing any of these problems down the road. Here are our top five tips:

1. Check it out
Be sure your doctor checks your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood glucose (sugar) levels. Regular screenings can help keep you on the path to good health.

2. Butt out
If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit.

3. Scale back
Excess pounds can contribute to the development of HBP, high cholesterol and diabetes, all of which boost your risk of developing heart disease. Talk with your doctor about how much you should weigh—and ways to reach that goal.

4. Get a move on
One of the best ways to control your weight is to walk or do any other type of moderate exercise for 30-60 minutes a day.

5. Eat smart
Make sure your diet includes plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean meat and fish.

December 2012