Most people know that cardiovascular disease can run in families -- that if
you have a family history of heart disease, you may be at greater risk for
heart attack, stroke, and other heart problems. But how much does family
history affect your heart health? What parts of the family tree are most
important? And what can you do about it?
2.Work on your weight. Many Americans are overweight. Bringing your weight to a healthy level is a plus for your heart.
3. Upgrade your next meal. Favor fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Pass on foods that are salty, high in unhealthy fats, or fried. Repeat for the meal after that, and so on, until it's routine.
4. Make an exercise menu. For your heart's sake, you should make it a habit to be active, so pick a couple of activities that sound like fun. That way, you always have some choices about what to do when you exercise at least three to four times a week for 30 minutes at a time. It burns calories and helps keep extra pounds off.
5. Rethink your drink. Limit alcohol. Moderate drinking may be OK, but more than that is bad for you. What's moderate drinking? Up to 1 glass a day for women, and up to 2 glasses a day for men.
6. Check your numbers. Many people have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or blood sugar levels that are too high, and they don't know it. Your doctor can check all of these things and, if any of your numbers are too high, recommend a plan of action.
And, finally, don't forget to consult your doctor. Your doctor can help you focus on developing healthy habits like the ones above. Your doctor can also help you figure out if your family's medical history puts you at risk and know if there's anything else you should be doing.