How to Prevent Heart Disease

You've probably heard the fact that heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Here are some tips on how to prevent disease from developing. If you're smart, you'll take precautions to reduce the chances that you fall prey to this disease. The following are scientifically tested ways to reduce your chances of developing this condition:

Don't smoke
According to Dr. Sharonne Hayes of the Mayo Clinic, this is the number one way to prevent heart disease. This means that you should quit smoking as soon as possible if you already smoke, and if you live with a smoker, you should put limits on the smoker so he or she needs to smoke outside; it is crucial that you not inhale second hand smoke. If you haven't started smoking, be sure never to start this habit.

Get moving
It's best if you can get in the 30 minutes a day of moderately vigorous exercise recommended by the government, but even a daily walk can help prevent heart disease. Find a form of exercise you enjoy enough to want to do it regularly and stick with it. If you've never been active in the past, enlist a friend or family member to introduce you to different types of exercise. If you are extremely obese or have health issues that limit exercise, see your doctor for suggestions and make sure you begin with a program that will not be too challenging for you to keep with it.

Eat healthy foods
Make sure you follow a heart prevention diet, even if you don't have any symptoms of heart disease. The key is to prevent the disease before it starts. This can be accomplished by eating a high-fiber, low fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Meats should be lean, and fats should be limited to heart healthy fats such as olive oil. Sugars and processed foods should be limited; and fresh, whole fruits and vegetables should make up a large portion of your daily meals.

Manage your weight
It's not enough to eat a lot of healthy foods if you're still overweight. Obesity is a predictor of heart disease, so make sure you limit your calories such that you are staying within a healthy body mass index (BMI). Check out online BMI calculators to determine if you are in the healthy range or not. Then work with your exercise and diet to get in shape-and down to a healthy BMI.

See your doctor annually
Your annual physical examination is more valuable than you think; it enables a medical doctor to watch for the signs of heart disease for you. Make sure you mention any potential signs of heart disease to your doctor, and be sure not to skip appointments.

Prevention is the best way to stop heart disease before it's damaged your heart and limited your ability to enjoy life.

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