Keeping Cardiovascular Disease Under Control
Sometimes, developing cardiovascular disease is unavoidable—your age or family history are factors out of your control. But there are plenty of factors you can control, whether you’re already living with cardiovascular disease, or taking steps to prevent it.
Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Some of the best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease, or to keep your symptoms under control, are to change your lifestyle habits. View our Congestive Heart Failure Patient handbook.
A smoker’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease is two to four times greater than non-smokers. When you quit smoking, you not only improve your own health, but that of your loved ones, too, by no longer exposing them to secondhand smoke that can raise their own chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
Reduce Your Cholesterol
The higher your total cholesterol, the higher your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Choose foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat to keep your total blood cholesterol level under 200. There are also medications that can help, if diet alone is not enough.
Control Your Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the most common risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing stress, eating healthy, and exercising will help keep your blood pressure in check, but there are also medications that provide extra help if you need it.
It can be hard to fit exercise into your schedule, but even mild to moderate amounts of physical activity can have a big impact on your heart health. Start by making exercise a part of your daily life. Go for walk, garden, take the stairs instead of the elevator—even the smallest changes make a difference.
Change Your Diet
You don’t need to give up all the foods you love, but making healthy changes to your diet, like choosing vitamin-rich foods low in cholesterol and fat, benefits your heart and your whole body.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying excess weight puts significant strain on your heart, and can make other cardiovascular disease risk factors worse, such as diabetes. Eating right and exercising regularly can help shed extra pounds. But if diet and exercise aren’t enough, ThedaCare offers bariatric surgery options that can help you overcome obesity.
Life is often stressful—sometimes we just can’t avoid it. But consistent stress and anger can have damaging effects that could lead to heart attack and stroke. Manage stress by learning relaxation techniques or asking for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed by stress, seek professional advice from ThedaCare’s Behavioral Health Specialists. Our trained counselors can give you the help you need to cope with stress successfully.
Learn more about our Behavioral Health Services
As always, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about what you can do to lower your risk. Together, you’ll determine the best strategy for preventing or managing cardiovascular disease.
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