Did you know that heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the United States, according to heart.org? Or that strokes are number 5?
But most importantly, did you know that it’s in your hands to reduce your own risk of having a heart attack or stroke? Lifestyle choices and changes are one of the biggest contributing factors in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Here are some lifestyle changes you can make to make sure you live as long and as healthy as possible.
According to the CDC, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the US. An estimated 34 million adults in the US are current smokers and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.
Those who smoke daily have an increased risk of developing or worsening many diseases over those who don’t smoke. Smokers increase their risk of heart disease and stroke anywhere from 2-4 times more than non-smokers.
It’s time to step away from cigarettes and tobacco.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet can increase life span and decrease many issues outside of heart attack and stroke. By choosing to limit fatty food intake and focus on healthier choices, the risk of heart disease decreases exponentially.
Working with a doctor or dietitian to choose the perfect diet for you is incredibly beneficial.
Limit alcohol intake
Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, increase cardiomyopathy, stroke, cancer, and other diseases, according to heart.org. Overconsumption of alcohol can also lead to accidents and other preventable causes of death.
However, research has shown that 1-2 drinks per day has actually increased lifespans for those who are healthy and take care of themselves.
A glass or two of wine with dinner is good for the heart and the brain!
Increase physical activity
Since elementary school, we’ve been taught that half an hour of physical activity every day is important to a long life. That’s absolutely true.
A walk around the block or a jog on the treadmill decreases many risks of heart disease and stroke while maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. 150 minutes of exercise a week helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well.
Easier said than done, right? Especially now, when we’re all connected all the time. Knowing everything that’s happening in the world, always, can be too much for anyone.
It’s okay to take a step back and unplug from everything. Read a book, take a walk, talk to people who are in the same room as you. Being able to not think about everything at once can save your life!
Honestly, all of this is easier said than done. Paying attention to the little things to prevent something as terrifying as heart disease can be stressful. Making lifestyle changes is a lot. But it’s worth it in the end.