Heart Healthy Living
One in three Americans will have heart disease. The good news is that there are many things you can do to control your risk of heart disease. While you can’t change your family history, you can live a healthy and active lifestyle to prevent or control the risk factors.
Heart Disease Risk Factors You Can Control
Ensure that your heart is in its best condition by following these heart healthy living tips.
- Inform your provider about your health history. This allows you to work together to determine the best, personalized plan of care for you.
- Stop smoking. As the leading cause of stroke, smoking raises blood pressure and narrows blood vessels. Take advantage of our quit smoking quiz.
- Monitor high blood pressure. High blood pressure damages vessels including those that supply blood to the brain.
- Monitor your diet. Eating a low fat, low cholesterol diet and cutting back on fatty foods will help lower your cholesterol and prevent plaque buildup that clogs blood vessels. Take our cholesterol quiz and find heart healthy recipes. Contact your local Avera location to connect with a dietitian or call 605-977-7160 to enroll in the Avera Heart Hospital’s nutrition clinic.
- Develop an exercise program. Exercise is a good way to lose weight and help the heart and blood vessels work better. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Also, learn about how to have a heart healthy workout.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, your body may be turning excess fat and cholesterol into plaque. This plaque can reduce the blood flow through vessels making the heart work harder. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can reduce both risk factors.
- Control diabetes. Untreated or elevated blood sugar causes blood vessel damage in the body. This can decrease blood flow to the brain. For more information, take our type 2 diabetes risk assessment.
- Limit alcohol intake. Too much alcohol can raise the cholesterol level in your blood. Alcohol increases blood pressure and adds empty calories to your daily intake.
- Take medications as prescribed. Your physician may prescribe medication to control your risk factors.
To learn more visit our health library and Balance.
Additional Risk Factors
Some heart disease risk factors, such as age and genetics cannot be changed.
- Aging - Onset of heart disease in women happens at a later age than in men.
- Family History - If family members have had heart disease, you are at an increased risk.
- Race - African-Americans are at greater risk for heart disease.