How to lower your risk of heart disease

Cardiac risk factors are conditions or habits that make you more or less likely to develop coronary artery disease. Some risk factors cannot be controlled—like gender, age and genetics.

But you can control what you eat, how much exercise you get, whether or not your stress, cholesterol and blood pressure are at healthy levels, and if diabetes is a factor, how well it is controlled. Knowing and working to reduce these risk factors can keep your chances of developing heart disease to a minimum.

For more information, please call (208) 529-6111.

Here’s what you can do to keep you risk level to a minimum:

  • Stop smoking: Quitting can reduce your risk of heart attack by up to 50 percent. Call our pulmonary rehab Department at (208) 529-6183 for information on how to kick the habit.
  • Control your blood pressure: High blood pressure is often called the silent killer because it can cause a heart attack without causing any symptoms. So eat right, exercise and avoid excess drinking.
  • Control your cholesterol: A buildup of cholesterol on the walls of arteries is a known cause of heart attacks. Losing weight, exercise and a proper diet can all help.
  • If you have diabetes, control your blood glucose levels: About 65 percent of people who have diabetes die of some type of cardiovascular disease. Keeping it in check will reduce your risk.
  • Lose weight: Being overweight is one of the risk factors for heart disease. Losing weight will not only reduce your risk for heart disease, it can help minimize other factors that contribute to it, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Be active: There is growing evidence of a link between “couch potato” behavior and increased risk of many medical conditions, including heart disease.
  • Eat lean: Check nutrition labels and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet is one high in fiber and low in fat.
  • Reduce stress: High stress levels can lead to heart disease and many other problems. To reduce stress, exercise, eat and drink sensibly, get plenty of rest and take time to do things you enjoy.