How can you Lower your Risk of Heart Disease and Strokes

by Sharon Hopkins


Heart disease and strokes are responsible for an increasing number of deaths every year. However the good news is that it is possible to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by making some changes in one's daily life.

First, it is important to identify your risks and speak to your doctor about how they can be lowered. There are some factors such as diet, exercise and other lifestyle aspects which can be controlled. Other factors such as heredity and gender are however uncontrollable. Overweight individuals are more prone to developing cardiovascular disease, even if other risk factors are not present. Obesity can also create risks for other conditions such as hypertension, increased blood cholesterol levels and diabetes. Shedding excess weight and taking the proper steps towards achieving and maintaining one's ideal body weight are important. Along with proper diet, regular physical exercise is also vital in lowering the risk of heart disease and strokes. Exercise not only burns calories, but also helps to maintain one's ideal weight. Thirty minutes of physical activity such as walking or riding a bike is advisable. Stress can be very damaging for the health and can trigger overeating, sleep problems and addictions such as smoking and drinking alcohol. Stress levels must be reduced through intake of a balanced diet, relaxation or meditation.

Cigarette smoking can significantly increase the risk of heart problems. Studies have shown that this risk is lowered to a large degree within a year or two after the habit is discontinued. There are also various smoking cessation programs that one can enroll in to seek help. High blood cholesterol levels can contribute to cardiovascular disease and stroke. Undergo blood tests to determine your cholesterol levels. Discuss with your doctor about how you can reduce your LDL or bad cholesterol levels. Reduction of saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol in the diet will help to maintain ideal weight and lower the risk of heart disease. Hypertension exerts increased pressure on the heart, thereby elevating the risk of damage to the arteries and heart. Proper exercise and stress reduction will help to decrease blood pressure levels. Undergoing regular medical checkups is also essential so that early diagnosis and treatment can be performed. Those with high cholesterol and hypertension especially must keep a check on their health by scheduling regular checkups. Birth control pills are also known to elevate the risk of high blood pressure. Women, especially those who are overweight or have high cholesterol can talk to their doctors regarding alternative birth control options.


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