How Can I lower My Risk For Heart Disease?

Individuals who have controllable risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, having an inactive lifestyle, obesity and smoking can make changes that will decrease their risk for heart disease.

The first step in controlling your risk factors for heart disease is to recognize what your risk factors are? Are you overweight or obese? Do you smoke? Do you have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol? Are you physically inactive?

If you said yes to any of these questions than you have risk factors for heart disease that you can control. In order to find out if you are overweight, obese, have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol you will need to make an appointment with a medical doctor.

A doctor can weight you and take your height measurement to find out if these measurements show that you are overweight or obese. If you are overweight or obese your doctor can help you to make better food choices, and to watch your portion sizes by knowing how to find out what the portion size is for the foods you eat.

Most of the packaging labels have portion size on them. Your doctor may refer you to a nutritionist or a registered dietician for further help in knowing what foods to eat or how to design meals and snacks that will help you to lose weight.

Your blood will be drawn and sent to a laboratory where it will be tested for HDL and LDL blood cholesterol. HDL is the “good” cholesterol and LDL is the “bad” cholesterol. You want the HDL number to be high and the LDL number to be low. Your doctor will know the normal ranges for these blood cholesterols.

If you are found to have high LDL blood cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol your doctor will adjust your diet, and possibly give you medication to help control your blood cholesterol numbers.

Your doctor or a member of the medical staff will take your blood pressure reading to see if it is within the normal range. If it is found to be high, your doctor may prescribe medication, make adjustments to your diet or ask you to pay more attention to your physical activity level.

You may also be asked about the stresses that are in your life as sometimes stress can elevate your blood pressure. Your doctor may also ask you to make lifestyle changes such as to stop smoking if you currently smoke because smoking can elevate your blood pressure.

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