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Key heart disease prevention tips

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Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that does not mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take.

You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. Here are some heart disease prevention tips to get you started.

Stop Smoking

Your risk of a heart attack decreases within a year after quitting.  A recent study found that only three years after quitting, ex-smokers had the same risk of a heart attack as people who never had smoked.

Regular Medical Checkups

Regular medical checkups can spot some of the warning signs of heart disease.  Know your risk factors and ask your doctor what tests are appropriate for you, and how often you need them.

Adopt a Healthy Eating Plan

Adopt a healthy eating plan that emphasizes lots of whole grains, fruit and vegetables and minimizes fats.  The American Heart Association recommends the following guidelines:  limit total fat intake to less than 25 percent of your daily calories; limit saturated fats to less than 10 percent of daily calories; and limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams per day.

Regular Aerobic Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise (the kind that gives your heart and lungs a workout) for 30-60 minutes at least three times a week increases oxygen consumption, raises HDLs, lower LDLs, reduces blood pressure, boosts energy and reduces stress.

Control High Triglycerides

The best advice to control high triglycerides is familiar:  lose weight and exercise regularly, reduce cholesterol and saturated fat as well as total calories in your diet, decrease your intake of alcohol and control any other risk factors–such as high blood pressure and smoking–since they multiply the danger of high blood triglycerides.

Vitamins

There is some evidence that shows that a high intake of folate and vitamin B6 appears to reduce levels of homocysteine, a substance found in the blood that, in large amounts, may be associated with a higher risk of heart disease.  Aim to get about 400 micrograms of folate and around three milligrams of vitamin B6 daily by taking supplements or eating fortified cereals, spinach and other leafy green vegetables.  Take 400 I.U. daily of vitamin E

For more information please visit www.HighPointRegional.com or call (336) 878-6888 to be connected to our Carolina Regional Heart Center.

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