You can help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy by taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle. These healthy habits include not smoking, eating right, exercising regularly, staying at a healthy weight, and getting the screening tests you need.
A heart-healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, not just for people with existing health problems. It can help you keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. If you already have heart or blood vessel problems, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, a healthy lifestyle can help you manage those problems.
If you have children, you can be their healthy role model. If your habits are healthy, your children are more likely to build those habits in their own lives.
Everyone who uses tobacco would benefit from quitting. When you quit smoking—no matter how old you are—you will decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke, and many other health problems. For help with quitting smoking, see these topics:
Eating healthy foods is one of the best things you can do to prevent and control many health problems, including heart and blood vessel disease. For help with healthy eating, see these topics:
Improving your fitness is good for your heart and blood vessels, as well as the rest of your body. Being active helps lower your risk of health problems. And it helps you feel good. For more information about being active, see these topics:
Staying at a healthy weight is also part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Read more in these topics about reaching and staying at a healthy weight:
Seeing your doctor regularly and getting screening tests is important. The sooner your doctor diagnoses a disease, the more likely it can be cured or managed. To reduce your risk of heart and blood vessel problems, be sure to keep an eye on your cholesterol and blood pressure. The tests you might have to check your risk for heart and blood vessel problems depend on your age, health, gender, and risk factors. Talk to your doctor to find out which tests are right for you.
Other Works ConsultedExpert Panel on Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents (2011). Expert panel on integrated guidelines for cardiovascular health and risk reduction in children and adolescents: Summary report. Pediatrics, 128(Suppl 5): S213–S256.Redberg RF, et al. (2009). ACCF/AHA 2009 Performance measures for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Performance Measures. Circulation, 120(13): 1296–1336.
November 12, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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