Reduce Your Risk

Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease

Although there are certain risk factors you can't control (such as age, gender and heredity/race), there are many others that can be managed by making positive lifestyle changes. Take charge of your heart health by following our tips below.

Tips for Heart Health

  • Don't smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Tobacco smoking causes about 20% of all deaths in the United States, one third of which are related to cardiovascular disease.1 If you smoke, quit! If not, don't start and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Aim for a healthy weight. Nearly 70% of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.1 If you don’t know your ideal weight, ask your doctor. The more overweight you are—the higher your risk for heart disease.
  • Get active.2 About 30% of American adults are inactive.1 Make a commitment to be more physically active. Every day, aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity such as taking a brisk walk, dancing, house cleaning, or gardening. 
  • Eat for heart health.2 A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting heart disease. Choose a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, cholesterol, and added sugars. Be sure to include whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Know your numbers.2 - High blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol and diabetes are all major risk factors for developing heart disease.1 Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL, triglycerides), and blood glucose levels. Work with your doctor to improve any numbers that are not normal.
  • Reduce stress. Stress has a biological impact on your body and mind. The chemicals released when you're stressed out can negatively affect your body, including an increased heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol—all of which can increase your risk for heart attack or stroke. 

Talk to Your Doctor

Make sure you talk to your doctor about your risk factors. Being honest with your doctor will help you create a plan to reduce your overall risk for heart disease. Bring our list of questions to your next doctor's appointment.

Questions to ask your doctor

Related Resources

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This information is not a substitute for medical care. Please consult a doctor or health care provider.

Know Your Numbers

Download this printable heart health card to take to your next doctor's appointment.

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Live Better with Life's Simple 7

The American Heart Association has identified seven key components to ideal cardiovascular health. Increase your heart health by using their tips; start today!

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Certain populations are at a greater risk for heart disease.

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