This month is the time to learn about your risks of heart disease and stroke, and learn how to stay “heart healthy” for yourself and your loved ones. Cardiovascular disease –including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure—is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. About 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 40 seconds. Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined.
You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease.
- quit smoking and avoid second hand smoke
- control your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure
- eat a healthy diet
- get physically active
- maintain a healthy weight
- avoid alcohol consumption
- get regular check-ups with your provider.
Being physically active is important to prevent heart disease and stroke. To improve overall cardiovascular health, at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise is suggested. Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. You will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day.