Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

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Topic Overview

You can help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy by taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle. These healthy habits include not smoking, eating right, exercising regularly, staying at a healthy weight, and getting the screening tests you need.

A heart-healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, not just for people with existing health problems. It can help you keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. If you already have heart or blood vessel problems, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, a healthy lifestyle can help you lower your risk of a heart attack and stroke.

If you have children, you can be their healthy role model. If your habits are healthy, your children are more likely to build those habits in their own lives.

Don't smoke

Everyone who uses tobacco would benefit from quitting. When you quit smoking—no matter how old you are—you will decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke, and many other health problems. For help with quitting smoking, see these topics:

Eat healthy foods

Eating healthy foods is one of the best things you can do to prevent and control many health problems, including heart and blood vessel disease. For help with healthy eating, see these topics:

Be active

Improving your fitness is good for your heart and blood vessels, as well as the rest of your body. Being active helps lower your risk of health problems. And it helps you feel good. For more information about being active, see these topics:

Reach and stay at a healthy weight

Staying at a healthy weight is also part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Read more in these topics about reaching and staying at a healthy weight:

Get screening tests

Seeing your doctor regularly and getting screening tests is important. The sooner your doctor diagnoses a disease, the more likely it can be cured or managed. To reduce your risk of heart and blood vessel problems, be sure to keep an eye on your cholesterol and blood pressure. The tests you might have to check your risk for heart and blood vessel problems depend on your age, health, gender, and risk factors. Talk to your doctor to find out which tests are right for you.

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Health Tools Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.

Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.

Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems.
Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition.
Interactive tools are designed to help people determine health risks, ideal weight, target heart rate, and more.

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References

Other Works Consulted

  • Eckel RH, et al. (2013). 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/11/11/01.cir.0000437740.48606.d1.citation. Accessed December 5, 2013.
  • Expert Panel on Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents (2011). Expert panel on integrated guidelines for cardiovascular health and risk reduction in children and adolescents: Summary report. Pediatrics, 128(Suppl 5): S213–S256.

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Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015

Current as of: February 20, 2015