What You Can Do to Prevent Heart Disease

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • According to the American Heart Association, nearly every woman is in danger of heart disease and stroke. This means that it is more important than ever for women to take an aggressive approach to preventing the development of heart disease. There are some factors that are out of your control, including genetics. However, many risk factors for heart disease can be improved through lifestyle changes.


    The American Heart Association recommends that women talk to their doctors about taking aspirin daily for the prevention of heart disease. This is the first time they have recommended aspirin therapy across the board. Many doctors caution that aspirin may cause ulcers and bleeding so it is very important to speak with your physician before starting to take this route.

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    However, few doctors will caution against healthy eating and regular physical activity for the prevention of heart disease and stroke. A healthy diet is a well-balanced one that includes all the food groups. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are a great tool to use when trying to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that will help lower your risk of many chronic diseases including heart disease and stroke.


    The dietary guidelines recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains, such as whole wheat breads, rice, pastas and whole grain cereals. In fact, they recommend that at least half of your grain foods come from whole grain sources. You should also focus on lean meats like white meat chicken without the skin and fish rather than higher fat varieties. Limit your total fat intake and focus on healthy fats like olive, canola and peanut oils.


    Physical activity is another important part of heart disease prevention. The dietary guidelines recommend spending at least 30 minutes exercising every day. If that seems like a big time commitment don’t worry, you don’t have to do it in 30 minute bouts, you can break it up into smaller increments and spread it out throughout the day.  But it is important to get this activity into your day in order to reduce your risk of heart disease.


    Being overweight increases your risk for many chronic diseases, including heart disease and stroke. If you are overweight, even a small reduction in weight can lower this risk. Eating healthy and exercising is the most effective way to lose weight. The dietary guidelines recommend exercising for 60 minutes every day if you are trying to lose weight. However, if do not currently exercise than any increase in physical activity will be beneficial. And be sure to speak with your physician before beginning a new exercise regime.


    Finally, smoking drastically increases your risk for heart disease. If you are a smoker, quitting can help reduce your risk for this silent killer.

Published On: March 02, 2007