American Heart Association's mission is to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. ABC News 4 and American Heart Association are partnering together to generate awareness and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Follow these 7 Simple Steps that are important heart health factors:
At least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise is recommended. Or a combination of moderate and vigorous. Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burns calories, such as climbing stairs or playing sports. Aerobic exercises benefit your heart, such as walking, jogging, swimming or biking. Strength and stretching exercises are best for overall stamina and flexibility.
A cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher puts you in a high-risk category and is cause to take action. Whether you've been prescribed medication or advised to make diet and lifestyle changes to help manage your cholesterol, carefully follow your doctor's recommendations. To keep your cholesterol under control The American Heart Association recommends that you: schedule a screening, eat foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat and free of trans fat, maintain a healthy weight, and stay physically active.
Vegetables and fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber — and they're low in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and your blood pressure. Unrefined whole-grain foods contain fiber that can help lower your blood cholesterol and help you feel full, which may help you manage your weight.
Eat fish at least twice a week. Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat. Select fat-free, 1 percent fat, and low-fat dairy products.
Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet. Aim to eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day. Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 1500 milligrams of sodium per day.
Manage Blood Pressure:
While there is no cure, high blood pressure is manageable. Even if your blood pressure is normal (less than 120 mm Hg systolic AND less than 80 mm Hg diastolic) and your goal is prevention only, the lifestyle modifications provide a prescription for healthy living. These changes may reduce your blood pressure without the use of prescription medications: eating a heart-healthy diet, which may include reducing salt; enjoying regular physical activity; maintaining a healthy weight; managing stress; limiting alcohol; avoiding tobacco smoke.
If you're overweight or obese, you can reduce your risk for heart disease by successfully losing weight and keeping it off. When coming up with a fitness and nutrition plan to lose weight, it's crucial to understand your recommended calorie intake. And then the amount of food calories you're consuming verses the energy calories you're burning off with different levels of physical activity.
Reduce Blood Sugar:
Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes.
Controlling glucose can slow the progression of long-term complications. Often, many small changes add up to surprising improvements in diabetes control, including less need for medication.
Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Smokers have a higher risk of developing many chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries — which can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke. Controlling or reversing atherosclerosis is an important part of preventing future heart attack or stroke.