Reducing Cardiovascular Risk Factors
See how smoking damages your heart and learn several common strategies that have helped others quit.
Understand what cholesterol is, how it affects your body, and what you can do to help keep your levels in a healthy range.
Understand the health concerns of having high blood pressure and learn several strategies to help keep your blood pressure within a healthy range.
Learn which foods to choose and which to limit when eating heart healthy to reduce your risk factors for heart disease.
Understand the potential health benefits from the Mediterranean Diet and learn what foods are included and limited in the eating pattern.
American Heart Association Activity Log: Date Type of Activity Total Minutes How I felt Personal Goals
Most foods in the grocery store have a Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list. When you go grocery shopping, take time to read the Nutrition Facts labels on the foods you purchase. Compare the nutrients and calories in one food to those in another. The information may surprise you. Make sure you aren't buying foods high in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and added sugars!
Quitting smoking doesn't mean you'll automatically gain weight. And even if you do gain a few pounds, that's not as important as saving your life...and the lives of others. When people gain weight, it's usually because they start to eat more once they quit smoking. If you watch what you eat and stay physically active, you may not gain at all!
A healthful eating plan means more than just choosing the right foods to eat. It's important to prepare foods in a healthy way. Some ways of cooking are better than others for cutting saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, added sugars and calories. At the same time, you want to maximize your nutritional benefits.
No one says that quitting tobacco is easy. But everyone says it's worth it! Quitting will reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. It will also lower your chance of developing lung disease and cancer. Most of all, quitting can save your life and the lives of others around you.
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can be a challenge. You may have tried to lose weight before without much long-term success. Be assured, you are not alone. There is no magic weight-loss formula that works for everyone. The key is to find a plan that works for you and provides the right balance of calories and nutrition with the appropriate amounts of physical activity.
It's important to learn how to recognize how stress affects you, learn how to deal with it, and develop healthy habits to ease your stress. What is stressful to one person may not be to another. Stress can come from happy events (a new marriage, job promotion, new home) as well as unhappy events (illness, overwork, family problems).
Smoking harms almost every tissue and organ in the body, including your heart and blood vessels. It also harms nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke. If you smoke, you have good reason to worry about its effect on your health and the health of your loved ones and others. Deciding to quit is a big step. Following through is just as important. Quitting tobacco and nicotine addiction isn't easy, but others have done it, and you can, too.
If you aren't in the habit of being physically active, you're probably being told you should start. That's because regular physical activity reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. It also helps you reduce or manage other risk factors — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight and diabetes. But the benefits don't stop there. You may look and feel better, become stronger and more flexible, have more energy, and reduce stress and tension.
Use recipes with ingredients that are low in saturated fat, sodium and added sugar and rework your favorite recipes with healthier substitutions to cook more healthful meals. There's a lot you can do when you cook and bake to control the amount of saturated and trans fats, sodium and added sugar in your diet. In other words, you can have your cake and eat it, too!
The American Heart Association recommends a healthy eating pattern that emphasizes vegetables, fruits and whole grains. It includes skinless poultry, fish and legumes (beans, peas and lentils); nontropical vegetable oils; and nuts and seeds. Limit your intake of sodium, sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and red and processed meats. Everything you eat and drink is part of your diet pattern. Make healthy choices today and they'll add up to healthier tomorrows for you!
If your doctor has suggested that you begin a physical activity program, follow that advice. The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. People who don't get enough physical activity are much more likely to develop health problems.
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if they have no other risk factors. Obesity is unhealthy because excess weight puts more strain on your heart. It can raise blood pressure and cholesterol and can lead to diabetes. Losing weight is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart problems and other diseases.
Most foods in the grocery store have a nutrition facts label and list of ingredients. When you go grocery shopping, take the time to read the nutrition facts labels on the foods you purchase. Compare nutrients and calories in one food to those in another. The information may surprise you. Make sure you aren't buying foods high in calories, saturated and trans fats, sodium and added sugars!
Understand what is provided in a cardiac rehabilitation program and recognize how it contributes to you living a long, heart healthy future.
Learn about the 3 stages of cardiac rehabilitation and how each is important to your journey of living a heart healthy lifestyle.
Learn about the different kinds of exercises your cardiac care team may prescribe for you as you recover, and how your progress can be monitored.
Recognize that you don't have to go through cardiac rehabilitation alone and learn who will be available to support you along the way.
Learn tips for shopping in the supermarket and for using the resources available to help you fill your cart with heart healthy foods.
Learn how to use the resources available to you to make dining out an enjoyable and heart healthy experience.
A cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program takes place in a hospital or in the community. Cardiac rehab is for patients who are getting better after heart problems or surgery. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to talk to your healthcare provider about how to get in a rehab program. The tools you need to get and stay healthy are in one place, and medical staff is on hand at all times. Rehab can do a lot to speed your recovery and reduce your chances of future heart problems.
Use this checklist when touring a rehab facility to help you decide if the facility is right for you.
Women & Heart Disease
Learn how hormone replacement therapy affects the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and other conditions.
Watch this to learn about the symptoms of heart attack in women and what to do if you experience them.
Learn why quitting smoking is the most important lifestyle change you can make to protect your heart, and your overall health.
Learn how managing your weight, gaining control of your diabetes and exercising regularly can reduce the risk factors that lead to heart disease.
Learn what certain medications do to help reduce heart disease risk factors, and ways to remember when to take your medications.
A weekly glucose tracker that includes the time of day a reading takes place and the MG/DL at that time.
Your digestive track breaks down the carbohydrates that you eat into glucose — a type of sugar — which gets absorbed into the blood. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body's cells absorb the glucose from the blood and use it or store it for energy. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should, or both. This causes sugars to build up too high in your blood.