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Heart Disease

How to control risk factors for heart disease

Many risk factors for heart disease can be controlled with simple lifestyle changes.

Many risk factors for heart disease are controllable, though some are not. It is possible to reduce your risk for heart disease and getting the symptoms of a heart attack by making lifestyle changes. A healthy lifestyle will also improve both the physical and emotional well-being of an individual.

Risk factors for heart disease
Risk factors for
heart disease

Controllable risk factors for heart disease include:

Physical activity – Regular exercise for 30 minutes a day, most days of the week at a moderate intensity is considered highly beneficial. The best forms of exercise are aerobic activities like brisk walking, cycling, swimming and jogging.

Smoking – Smokers have more than twice the risk for a heart attack than nonsmokers. Those who are exposed to second hand smoke also have an increased risk.

Obesity – When a person carries excess weight it puts a strain on the heart and increases the risk of heart problems. Losing weight through healthy eating and exercise will reduce the risk of heart problems.

Uncontrolled hypertension – Maintaining a healthy blood pressure level of 120/80 mm Hg can help decrease health risks. It can be controlled through diet, weight management, diet and medications if needed.

Uncontrolled diabetes – Diabetes can lead to heart damage, heart attacks and death if it is not properly controlled. A healthy diet, exercise, maintenance of an ideal weight and taking your medications are all effective ways of lowering the risk factors of heart disease.

Uncontrolled stress or anger – Stress management can help to lower the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Try relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation and reading.

Uncontrolled cholesterol – A diet that is low in cholesterol and trans fats will help to lower cholesterol levels. Medication and exercise will also help.

Uncontrollable risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Post menopausal
  • Race
  • Male sex
  • Age (more common in older people)
Remember the symptoms which women experience in a heart attack often differ from the experiences of men. Making the effort to control risk factors for heart disease will improve overall health. If you think you may have particular risk factors for heart disease, talk to your doctor, who can help guide you to making changes in your daily lifestyle.


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