What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Heart Disease?
Sheroyl Kirby, Pharmacist
Three Rivers, Michigan
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for one in four deaths or about 610,000 deaths per year. Heart disease can run in families due to genetic and environmental factors, as well as shared behaviors and lifestyles. Although heart disease is not completely preventable, one of the best ways to decrease your risk is to be aware of the risk factors and to make lifestyle changes.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are all conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease. It’s important to have annual checkups with your doctor to evaluate your health. If you’re prescribed medications for these conditions, it’s important to take the medications regularly. Using tobacco products also increases your risk. Several products are available to help those who want to quit smoking. Your pharmacist can help you determine which options are best.
You can also reduce your risk by being physically active and maintaining a healthy diet and body weight. The Surgeon General recommends at least 150 minutes of moderately intensive exercise each week. This can include walking, swimming, bicycling — anything to get your body moving! Doing something you enjoy makes it easier to stick with this important lifestyle change.
Dietary changes can also be key to reducing your risk. Eating foods high in fiber and low in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt can also lower your blood pressure. Avoiding excessive sugar in your diet can lower blood sugar levels to prevent or help control diabetes.
It’s important to have a support system, including your team of health care providers, to help make these key changes. It’s OK to start small. Every change you make is a step toward better health. As you make these lifestyle changes and stick with them, you can reduce your risk of heart disease.
The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent that of AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation. The content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe or treat any health condition and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health professional.
February 1, 2019