If you have heart disease or increased heart disease risks, then you know how scary it can be to manage your overall health. However, you are not alone.  Individuals with greater than normal heart disease risks are common across the U.S.

The American Heart Association found that cardiovascular disease and heart health issues account for 836,546 deaths annually. In addition, just about 2,300 Americans die of a cardiovascular disease each day.

Here’s another stand-out statistic related to U.S heart disease: close to 92.1 million Americans are living with some form of heart complications of the after-effects of stroke.

The good news about having heart disease is that you can still live a  relatively low-stress lifestyle with few complications. Most patients with heart disease or increased risks can make critical lifestyle changes and monitor risk factors to help live an near-uninterrupted life. 

So how can patients make these important lifestyle changes and manage heart disease risk factors? 

Diet and exercise changes are crucial for lowering heart disease risk

Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine are some of the key factors in reducing your risks for heart disease.

A healthy diet and  exercise routine can lower obesity , blood pressure, cholesterol, and other conditions that increase heart disease risks. Ask your doctor or a medical professional about ways to jumpstart a healthier diet.

Individuals with high heart disease risks should also make sure they’re eating the daily recommended intake of fruits, vegetables, poultry, whole grains, and  any other dietary recommendations.

If you don’t have an exercise routine established yet, try these exercises that use American Heart Association guidelines. Individuals with a sedentary lifestyle, and want to get more active, should start with at least 150 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity including brisk walking, gardening, or other mild-intensity workouts. 

Making diet and exercise changes takes a lot of time, so make sure you gradually incorporate these changes to see the best result!

Cut out high-fat foods, drugs, and alcohol to reduce heart disease risks

Dieting and adding more physical activity can help reduce heart disease risks. However, cutting out unhealthy foods from your diet is as important as adding healthy foods to it. Cut back on  the consumption of foods such as red meats, fried foods, high-fat meat and dairy products, and foods that contain lots of sodium.

However, reducing unhealthy foods is not the only way to reduce heart disease risks. Make sure that you also limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking. Both alcohol and tobacco use are key drivers of advanced coronary disease.

Manage and measure blood pressure and cholesterol

Even healthy individuals should also make sure to screen blood pressure and cholesterol routinely, in order to manage and monitor heart disease risks.

Hypertension and high cholesterol don’t have visible symptoms, which may gradually change into heart disease. Most individuals get a screening at least once a year during their annual physical that helps doctors identify a concerning spike in blood pressure or cholesterol. 

If you have other major risk factors for heart disease, then make sure to visit a nearby provider for a screening. Healthcare experts including PAs and urgent care staff can make necessary medical recommendations based on your blood pressure or cholesterol level.

Heart disease risks can be easily managed with a little time and a lot of commitment to a healthier lifestyle!