It’s no secret: how you live can determine your health.
Health experts have identified several key factors that help us stay well and prevent heart disease and stroke.
The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new prevention guidelines on March 17, 2019 that will help adults live longer, healthier lives. The guidelines use the most recent science to guide doctors and other health care professionals as they help people who have never had a heart attack or stroke stay healthy.
Living an active life is one of the best ways to stay healthy and age well. Simply put, daily physical activity increases the length and quality of your life.
A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting cardiovascular diseases. When you have good eating habits, you improve your chances for feeling good and staying healthy.
When you lose weight and keep it off, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and bones. Staying at a healthy weight can help you lower your blood pressure and feel better, too.
Smokers have a higher risk of many cardiovascular and other diseases. If you smoke, vape or use tobacco products, quit now. It’s the single best thing you can do for your health.
Manage Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and the single most important preventable risk factor for stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys – all of which keeps you healthier longer.
Unhealthy cholesterol levels can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries, which can lead to heart disease or stroke. When you control your cholesterol, you help keep your body and brain healthy. Your doctor may prescribe statin medications to reduce your risk. As always, take your medications as prescribed.
Keep Blood Sugar in a Healthy Range
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Over time, high levels of blood sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves and increase risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes and prediabetes can go unnoticed for years and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Follow Doctors’ Orders
Low dose aspirin therapy is not recommended to reduce risk in those who have never had a heart attack or stroke, except for certain patients, due to the risk of bleeding. Lifestyle changes are often the biggest factors toward improving your heart health. However, if you’re diagnosed with any health condition, you and your health care team should consider all your treatment and medication options. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about your health.
Know Your Risk
If you’re between 40 and 75 years old and have never had a heart attack or stroke, you can use our Check. Change. Control. CalculatorTM to estimate your risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event in the next 10 years. There are factors that can increase your risk such as smoking, kidney disease or a family history of early heart disease. All of this information can help you and your health care team decide whether medications are right for you in addition to a healthy lifestyle.
Take Control of Your Health
The small choices you make each day combined with the important decisions you make with your health care team can help you stay healthy for good. Learn more about the new prevention recommendations.
Which areas do you need to focus on to live a longer, healthier life?