5 Steps To Avoid America's #1 Killer

Despite advances in treatment, heart disease is still the number 1 killer of American men and women. The good news is, “preventing disease is much easier than treating it – and will significantly improve your quality of life,” says Robert H. Eckel, M.D., an endocrinologist and a spokesman for the American Heart Association (AHA).

Here are the top five steps you can take to keep your heart healthy:

1 Avoid smoking. Cigarette smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease, according to the AHA.

2 Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and helps you maintain a healthy weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

3 Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity places you at risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes – the very factors that heighten your risk of cardiovascular disease, advises the AHA.

4 Maintain a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Total cholesterol should be less than 200, LDL less than 100, and HDL 40 or higher. Ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.

5 Eat a healthy diet. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole-grain and high-fiber foods, fish, lean protein and fat-free or low-fat dairy products is the key, according to the AHA.

Take action today to achieve real progress that will substantially strengthen your heart.

Are you at risk for developing heart disease? Take the Heart Health Risk Assessment to learn if you are at risk.


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