Preventing Heart Disease Before it Starts

By: Andrew Bicknell

Heart disease is the leading cause of death due to disease in the United States today. What many people may not realize is that simply preventing it before it happens is the best medicine. In fact the steps to prevention are relatively simple and easy but it does involve some significant lifestyle changes. But then a few changes to live a long healthy life are certainly worth the effort, aren't they.

Here are six simple steps you can take to help prevent the occurrence of heart disease.

1. Cut the Fat - This can be difficult for many people because fat is what makes everything taste so good. Unfortunately eating to much fat, particularly trans fat, can lead to a rise in LDL cholesterol, known as the bad cholesterol. It builds forming plaque that narrows and hardens the arteries. This can cause a clot which leads to a heart attack or stroke.

2. Cardiovascular Exercise - By keeping your heart and the rest of your cardiovascular system strong and in shape you can significantly decrease you chances of suffering from heart disease. Doing some form of physical activity everyday is a good way to heart disease at bay. It can be as simple as doing housework, going for a daily walk or bike ride, taking the stairs instead of elevators, or any number of other daily activities.

3. Quit Smoking - more than 135,000 people in the United States die from tobacco related heart disease every year. In fact if you smoke you are two to three times more at risk to die from coronary heart disease.

4. Use Less Salt - Salt is a necessary part of any diet but to much salt can cause your body to retain water and other fluids. This can cause blood pressure to rise which is a major factor in cardiovascular disease.

5. Reduce Stress Levels - This is easier said then done because stress happens. Most of the time there is nothing you can do about it when it happens. But when stress does rear its ugly head you need an outlet that lets you keep its effects to a minimum. Find time everyday to spend time by yourself, in a quiet, relaxed environment. You can also use exercise to reduce stress, thus taking care of two of the steps at one time.

6. Keep Your Weight in Check - The interesting thing when we talk about weight and heart disease is that there are two sides to this issue. Being overly thin, including because of eating disorders, increases the risk of heart attack just as being overweight does. The idea is to maintain an ideal body weight for your height and body type. A good starting point is to use the body mass index (BMI) to determine your ideal weight.

By following these six steps you can go a long ways to preventing heart disease. It is important that if you think you have some form of heart disease or are exhibiting any of the symptoms that you see your doctor for the proper tests to determine your current health status.

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