Preventing Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans today – men and women alike. But it doesn't have to be this way.
Preventing heart disease starts with risk awareness. While some risk factors, such as family history and age can't be changed, there are many ways to help prevent heart disease and stroke.
How to Lower Your Heart Disease Risk
At UnityPoint Health – Trinity in Fort Dodge, Iowa, we recommend you have a cardiac disease risk assessment to find out your risk for heart disease and stroke. Follow your provider's advice on lifestyle changes and medical treatments, including any medications or heart tests you may need.
Other steps you can take to lower your risk include:
- Control your blood pressure: Have your blood pressure checked as recommended and take medicine if your doctor has prescribed it. You can control blood pressure by:
- Exercising regularly
- Eating healthy
- Limiting sodium (salt) in foods and alcohol intake
- Quitting smoking
- Control your cholesterol: Limit foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat and trans-fat. Have your cholesterol checked as recommended and take any cholesterol-lowering medicines your doctor prescribes.
- Don't smoke: Smoking more than doubles your risk for heart disease. Secondhand smoke is also very harmful. If you smoke, quit.
- Eat healthy foods: Include more heart-healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Limit your salt (sodium) intake and limit your daily calories from fat to 30 percent or less.
- Manage stress: Stress increases your blood pressure and heart rate. Take time to relax. Exercise helps reduce stress, too.
- Watch your weight: Being overweight can contribute to heart disease and stroke. Getting active will help you shed those extra pounds. Learn about our Healthy Weight 4 Life weight management programs.
- Be active: Regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming or biking, strengthens your heart. Moderate-intensity activities, including leisure walking, housework and gardening, are also good for you. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
To learn more about our heart care services at UnityPoint Health – Trinity, call us today at (515) 573-3101.