Lifestyle changes are an important way to stay healthy and lower your risk of a heart attack or a stroke. They are always important, even if you take medicines too.
You can have a healthy lifestyle and still have a cholesterol level that puts you at risk for heart problems or stroke. Cholesterol problems can run in families. And cholesterol goes up as you age, no matter how healthy you are. But healthy habits are worth having because they can help you avoid some of the problems related to cholesterol, like heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, heart attack, and stroke.
What changes do you need to make?
One Man's Story:
"The walking was the easy part for me. I get out every evening for a walk. The food part took some thought. Each week, I added a food that was good for me and took something away that was bad for me."-Joe
Read more about how Joe is getting healthy by making one change at a time.
Eat heart-healthy foods
Making healthy eating habits a part of your daily life is one of the best things you can do to lower your risk. Eating heart-healthy foods can help you manage your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. There are a few heart-healthy eating plans you can choose from.
If you have questions about which eating plan to follow, talk to your doctor.
For more information about heart-healthy foods, see:
Stay at a healthy weight
Losing weight if you need to, and staying at a healthy weight, can lower your risk. Losing weight can also help lower your blood pressure.
For help, see:
Healthy Eating: Starting a Plan for Change.
Weight Management: Stop Negative Thoughts.
Exercise can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and lower your risk. Try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week. Or try to do vigorous activity at least 1¼ hours a week. Getting active has many other benefits too.
For tips, see:
- High Cholesterol: Making Lifestyle Changes
Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
Exercise and Physical Activity Ideas
Quick Tips: Getting Active at Home