Preventing Heart Disease

Self Care

Making Changes to Avoid Heart Disease
Your heart is a vital organ that keeps your body functioning. Unfortunately, many people don't treat it that way. They may not realize that their daily habits and lifestyle can overwork and damage their heart. So, take care of your heart and yourself. Start by making the following lifestyle changes.
What You Can Do to Prevent Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis can be devastating, causing strokes, heart attacks and death. The good news is that you can take steps to protect yourself from this disease.
Making Your Lifestyle Heart-Healthy
The millions of Americans diagnosed with heart and cardiovascular diseases can benefit from making healthy choices in their day-to-day lives.
Twelve Weeks to a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
Heart disease is a killer, but you can do plenty to reduce your risk and prolong your life. Research shows that making lifestyle changes can decrease your risk of cardiovascular heart disease and help you control it if you already have it.

Risk Factors

Take Action to Beat Heart Disease
Even if you already have atherosclerosis or have had a heart attack, there’s a lot you can do to prevent future heart problems.
Metabolic Syndrome: Lowering Your Heart Disease Risk
Control your blood pressure, keep your cholesterol in check, and take your medicine as prescribed.
Preventing Cardiovascular Diseases
Living a healthier lifestyle can help prevent heart disease. Don't smoke, eat a heart-healthy diet, and get regular exercise.

Smoking

The High Cost of Smoking
When people consider the cost of smoking, they usually focus on the cost of the cigarettes alone. But that's only the first step.
Smoking and Gum Disease
Do you have healthy gums? You may kiss them goodbye if you're a smoker.
Smoking Adds Another Wrinkle to Aging
Everybody knows smoking is bad for your health. Now here's something you may not know: Smoking is bad for your looks. It's true.
Why Quit Smoking?
You know you should quit smoking. But you just haven't gotten around to it yet. Here are some reasons to help you commit to quitting.

Types of Smoking

Up in Smoke: Cigars and Your Health
Most people realize that cigarettes can cause lung cancer and heart disease. But many people erroneously believe that cigars aren't harmful.

Secondhand Smoke

Tools for Quitting

Options in Nicotine Therapy
By using nicotine replacement therapy to reduce withdrawal symptoms, smokers who try to quit have a better chance of succeeding.
How to Quit Smoking, Again
Fewer than a quarter of those who attempt to quit are able to make it beyond three months before resuming smoking. Women usually find it harder to quit than do men, even though women have a higher risk of smoking-related diseases. The following suggestions can help you kick the habit, again, for good.
More Help to Quit
If you’ve tried to quit smoking before without success, a new medicine may help.

Blood Pressure

Understanding Prehypertension
Prehypertension is a term that alerts people to the risk of developing chronic high blood pressure if they don’t take timely steps to improve their lifestyle habits.
How to Manage Prehypertension
Prehypertension is a new term that alerts people to the very real risk of developing chronic high blood pressure if they don't take timely steps to improve their lifestyle habits.
Managing Prehypertension Without Drugs
Even if your blood pressure is normal or high-normal, you're still at increased risk for hypertension (high blood pressure), the condition in which your heart works too hard and the resulting forceful blood flow harms arteries.

Diet and Nutrition

Diet and Cardiovascular Disease
The Choose My Plate plan from the federal government is a guideline to help you eat a healthy diet.
Nutrition's Role in Disease Prevention
Evidence is mounting that a healthful diet can help protect you from some diseases. What you eat -- or don't eat -- may help prevent heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes.
Cholesterol in the Blood
The cholesterol in your blood comes from the foods you eat and your liver—but your liver makes all of the cholesterol your body needs.
Calculating Calories and Fat Grams
Here's a formula to help you figure out how many calories and fat grams you need each day to maintain your current weight.
Determining Your Body Mass Index
Your BMI gives a fairly accurate assessment of how much of your body is composed of fat.
Cook for a Healthy Heart
Part of eating a heart-healthy diet means fixing foods using low-sodium, low-fat, and low-cholesterol methods.
Simple Ways to Improve Your Diet
Eating healthy can reduce your risk of illness and lengthen your life. Eating a balanced, low-fat, low-cholesterol diet reduces your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, stroke and other diseases. Follow these tips to help improve your diet.
How to Make Heart-Healthy Food Choices
Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease and other heart conditions.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Coronary Heart Disease
Omega-3s are a beneficial and essential form of fat, one that your body needs but can't make.
Good Sources of Antioxidants
The most important antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids, including beta carotene.
Components of Food
When trying to make heart-healthy changes to your lifestyle and diet, it is helpful to know some basics about nutrition.
Controlling Cholesterol: Improving Meal Choices
With a few simple substitutions, you can reduce the cholesterol in your meals—and boost your heart health.
Prevention of Heart Disease Starts in Childhood
You may think of heart disease as a problem for adults, not your young children. But diet and exercise habits started in childhood can begin a lifetime of heart health, or a lifetime of heart damage.

High Blood Cholesterol

Anger Can Raise Cholesterol Levels
There's evidence that people who respond rigidly to anger-provoking events are likely to wind up with significantly elevated levels of heart-damaging cholesterol.
Lower Your Cholesterol
High cholesterol contributes to heart disease, which kills more Americans than all cancers combined.
Beyond Cholesterol
Scientists have learned that other substances may give you and your doctor new clues about your heart disease risk. And that's good news. Coronary heart disease, in which fatty deposits build up in your arteries, is the nation's top killer.
The Truth About Triglycerides
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your body. Most of your body's fat is stored as triglycerides.
All About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
According to the American Heart Association, there are five main types of cholesterol-lowering medications.

Overweight and Obesity

Overview of Obesity
Obesity is a serious, chronic disease that can inflict substantial harm to a person’s health. Learn about obesity causes and obesity health effects.
Metabolic Syndrome
Most people who have metabolic syndrome have insulin resistance. This may be a beginning of the development of type 2 diabetes.
Metabolic Syndrome: Lowering Your Heart Disease Risk
Control your blood pressure, keep your cholesterol in check, and take your medicine as prescribed.
Understanding Compulsive Overeating
The disorder may develop when others make repeated negative comments about a person's weight.

Physical Inactivity

Exercise: Before Starting an Exercise Program
It is always important to talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program, particularly if you have certain health conditions.
Designing an Exercise Program
To improve your heart and lung fitness, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times a week.
Exercise and Target Heart Rate
The key to cardiovascular fitness is getting a good but safe aerobic workout. Heart rate monitors, which monitor your heart rate while you exercise, can help you do that with ease.
Risks of Physical Inactivity
Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Have a Hearty Workout for Your Heart
Unlike other muscles, your heart muscle does not tire from use. Your heart is like other muscles, however, in that it needs exercise to work efficiently. What kind of exercise would that be? All it takes is a brisk 30-minute walk most days of the week.
Strength Training and Heart Disease
If you think that you can’t begin a strength-training program because you have heart disease, think again.
Exercise Your Way to a Healthy Heart
Physical inactivity is just as big a risk factor for heart disease as high blood pressure and smoking are. So, be the exception rather than the rule. Here are eight ways to exercise for a healthier heart.
Move to the Music: Dancing as Exercise
The benefits of dancing go well beyond heart health and physical fitness. Dancing, especially group dance activities, provides opportunities for people of all ages to be socially and mentally engaged, as well.

Stress

Stress Can Increase Your Risk for Heart Disease
Mental stress does more than diminish your sense of well-being. It also can increase your risk for heart disease.

Other Factors

Heart Disease: Keep Your Gums Healthy
People with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease than people with healthy gums.
Get to the Heart of Oral Health
Evidence is mounting that people with periodontal (gum) disease may be more at risk for heart disease and stroke.
Air Pollution
Detailed information on air pollution and air pollution prevention
Alcohol and Your Heart
Alcohol may have some health benefits, including lowering the risk for heart disease, but it may also lead to abusive drinking and other diseases.