Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. The CDC reports that almost 700,000 people die from CVD each year. Maintaining cardiovascular health is one of the best things you can do to live a long and healthy life. But what does cardiovascular health actually mean? Most people think cardiovascular health is just about your heart — with problems including coronary artery disease (narrowing of the arteries), heart attacks, heart failure, arrhythmias, and stroke. But your blood pressure and cholesterol are important parts of your cardiovascular health too.
Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with one or more of the above problems. Or maybe you suspect you have a genetic predisposition to one or more of these because of your family history. Or perhaps you have another medical condition — like diabetes or obesity — that increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.
No matter what your situation is, the same lifestyle changes can help protect your heart: exercise regularly, manage stress, eat well, get enough sleep, quit smoking, and maintain a healthy weight. Sometimes your doctor may recommend medication if lifestyle changes aren’t enough.