About 647,000 Americans die from heart disease, and roughly 795,000 people in the US have a stroke each year*. You can help prevent heart disease and stroke by living a healthier lifestyle. By making healthier choices you can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels normal and lower your risk for heart disease. And up to 80% of strokes could be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and working with your healthcare team to control conditions that raise your risk for stroke*. Here are five ways to help prevent heart disease and stroke:
1. Nutrition: Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and limit processed foods and meats. Also limiting sweetened drinks and alcohol can help lower your blood sugar level and blood pressure.
2. Maintain A Healthy Weight: People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Carrying extra weight can put extra stress on the heart and blood vessels.
3. Exercise: Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lowers your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels. Adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intense exercise per week.
4. Quit Smoking: Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you currently smoke, work with a doctor or pharmacist to help create a plan to quit.
5. Take Your Medications as Directed: If you take medications to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes: follow the instructions carefully and ask your pharmacist about anything you don’t understand!
You and your health care team can work together to treat any medical conditions that lead to heart disease or stroke. Discuss your treatment and medications regularly and bring a list of questions to your doctor’s appointments or next time you pick up your prescriptions.
*Information provided by cdc.gov