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5 Steps to Better Heart Health.

Oct 18, 2010

Know the Risk Factors- Knowledge is power. Once you know what behaviors and conditions contribute to the problem, you can take action. Risk factors include unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and heredity.

2. Know Your Numbers- High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without testing them, you probably won’t know whether or not you have these conditions. It’s important that you know what your levels are, to keep track of them over time, and to share them with care givers and family members. Using online personal health management applications like Mayo Clinic Health Manager, can simplify how you organize and track your numbers and assist in determining your personal blood pressure and cholesterol goals.

3. Stop Using Tobacco Products- When you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease is dramatically reduced within just one year. No matter how long or how much you’ve smoked, you start reaping rewards as soon as you quit. Talk to your doctor about effective ways to stop smoking.

4. Eat a Heart Healthy Diet- Many doctors recommend the DASH diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. That may not sound like a tempting menu description, but eating to protect your heart really can be delicious and satisfying. Reducing the amount of saturated and Trans fat you eat is key. Sources of saturated fat include beef, butter, cheese, milk, and coconut and palm oils. Check package labels for partially hydrogenated to avoid Trans fat.

5. Get Moving- Physical activity can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. It helps you control weight and reduces your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which may be a factor in heart disease. It is easier than you think to prevent and manage heart disease. Taking small steps can make a big difference. Start following these five steps and track your progress.

Source: Shopaholic March, 2010

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