Maintaining Cardiovascular Health and Prevention

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Cardiovascular disease is the world’s leading cause of death and is largely preventable. It can be caused by a number of risk factors including tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity, harmful alcohol consumption and high blood pressure.

While genetics play a role, many cardiovascular disease risks can be controlled through heart-healthy choices and education. These include regular exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, and managing stress and sleep.

Lifestyle Changes

Having good cardiovascular health requires a combination of healthy habits, like exercise, eating well and avoiding tobacco. Changing these habits can reduce your risk of heart disease, which includes coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and arrhythmias.

You cannot change some risk factors for heart disease, such as family history or sex at birth. But you can change other risk factors, such as smoking, unhealthy eating habits and being overweight.

A healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do to prevent heart disease. The recommended diet is high in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, fish, nontropical vegetable oils, nuts and whole grains. It should also be low in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and salt.

It is recommended that you get 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, such as walking or cycling. It is also important to have enough protein in your diet each day, and a registered dietitian can help you with meal planning if needed.


A person can significantly reduce their risk for heart disease by eating a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and lean meats, and healthy fats. A cardiac diet also limits salt, sugar and processed foods, and focuses on drinking only limited amounts of alcohol (if at all).

In addition to a well-balanced diet, a person can positively impact their heart health by exercising regularly. It is recommended that adults get 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week, which can include activities such as walking, climbing stairs or taking the dog for a walk. Diet and exercise are two of the simplest ways to improve heart health, especially if a person wants to avoid developing heart disease due to factors that they cannot change such as family history or sex at birth. These five health measurements are a great place to start.


One of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy heart is physical activity. Studies have shown that regular cardio-based exercise not only strengthens the heart muscle, but it also improves blood flow in the small vessels around the heart. This can help prevent blockages of fatty deposits that can build up over time and lead to heart attacks.

In addition to getting enough daily physical activity, it is important to choose the right type of foods to eat. Try to follow a heart-healthy eating plan such as the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet. Both of these plans emphasize high intakes of vegetables and fruits, whole grains and lean meats. They limit consumption of refined sugars and saturated fat and include low-fat or fat-free dairy foods.

Choosing a healthy lifestyle at any age can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Taking steps to reduce risk factors like obesity, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, smoking and high blood pressure or cholesterol can make a big difference.

Stress Management

Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and managing stress can all help. However, if you find that your lifestyle doesn’t make much difference, it may be time to try a new approach.

For example, if you’re dealing with ongoing stress and don’t have good social support, it might be helpful to consider therapy or counseling. These techniques can help you find the sources of your stress and learn healthier ways to cope with them.

Some heart disease risk factors can’t be changed, such as being born with a family history of cardiovascular disease or age. However, other risk factors can be changed or managed, such as a healthy diet and exercise, avoiding tobacco and alcohol use and regular health screenings. Treatment options include medications, procedures and surgeries. Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the world and early diagnosis can lead to effective treatment. So, be proactive about your heart health.

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