Understanding Cardiovascular Disease
According to the Center of Disease Controls and Prevention, Cardiovascular disease (CVD),including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, is the number 1 killer of women and men in the United States. It is a leading cause of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities.CVD does not affect all groups of people in the same way. Although the number of preventable deaths has declined in people aged 65 to 74 years, it has remained unchanged in people under age 65. Men are more than twice as likely as women to die from preventable CVD.
You can help control a number of risk factors for CVD, including:
- Physical activity
- Tobacco use
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
Plan for Prevention:
Work with your health care team.Get a checkup at least once each year, even if you feel healthy. A doctor, nurse, or other health care professional can check for conditions that put you at risk for CVD, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, conditions that can go unnoticed for too long.
Monitor your blood pressure.High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor's office. Shop blood pressure products.
Get your cholesterol checked.Your health care team should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years. Talk with your health care professional about this simple blood test.
Eat a healthy diet.Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid CVD and its complications. Limiting sodium in your diet can lower your blood pressure. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetable, adults should have at least five servings each day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber. For more information on eating a healthy diet, visit CDC's Nutrition page and ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Maintain a healthy weight.Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for CVD. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, health care professionals often calculate a number called body mass index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person's body fat. If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC's Assessing Your Weight Web site.
Exercise regularly.Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity activity for at least 150 minutes per week. Remember to incorporate exercise into your day in different ways: take the stairs instead of the elevator, or rake the yard instead of using the leaf blower. Exercising with friends and family can be a great way to stay healthy and have fun.
Don't smoke.Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for CVD. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your health care team can suggest ways to help you quit. There are also smoking suppressing products to help.
Limit alcohol use.Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than two drinks per day, and women to no more than one.
Manage your diabetes.If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your health care team about treatment options.
Take your medicine.If you're taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or another condition, follow the instructions carefully. Pill organizers and boxes are helpful for reminders and organization. Always ask questions if you don't understand something. If you have side effects, talk with your health care team about your options.
For other Guidelines and recommendations on heart disease, please visit:www.cdc.gov/heartdisease
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