You are here

Heart Smarts

Six steps to avoid a heart attack

The "big five" risk factors—smoking, family history, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure—all raise your risk for heart attacks, says Marla Mendelson, M.D., a professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. To reduce your risk, she suggests you:

 

  • LEARN YOUR FAMILY HISTORY
    If someone in your family had cardiovascular disease before age 55, your risk goes up.

     

  • DON'T SMOKE
    Did we really have to tell you this?

     

  • KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
    Do your own cholesterol and blood pressure math. Optimal total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL, while BP should be no higher than 120/80.

     

  • EXERCISE REGULARLY
    Get at least five hours of cardio every week.

     

  • EAT WELL
    Keep fast food to a minimum and stick to a diet high in lean protein, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.

     

  • KEEP YOUR COOL
    Stress doesn't hurt as much as the things you do when you're stressed—eat too much, drink too much, and don't exercise. Find healthy ways to handle it.

Topics: 

comments powered by Disqus