- Manage your blood pressure. A reading of 120/80 or lower is considered optimal. Keep yours in check by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, watching your sodium in-take, getting enough exercise and eating a healthy diet high in fiber and low in fat.
- Understand your cholesterol numbers. HDL “good cholesterol” may help protect your heart by preventing plaque growth. A level of 60 mg/dL or higher is optimal. You’ll want your LDL (the bad cholesterol) to be less than 100 mg/dL. A low-fat, high-fiber diet can help keep your LDL under control. Your cholesterol number also includes Triglycerides. High levels of this fat are another indicator for heart disease risk. A level of less than 150 mg/dL or less is ideal.
- Stay active. Not only will you feel great when you exercise, you can lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol levels and reduce your blood sugar which protects your heart. Walking is a simple and effective method for keeping healthy.
- Quit smoking. Smokers have a higher risk of dying from heart disease. You can substantially lower your risk by quitting now.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Maintain a healthy BMI of 18.4 -24.9, which is considered a healthy range.
- Control your blood glucose levels. People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke. If you are a diabetic, losing weight, eating healthily and keeping your blood sugar under control are vital to keeping your heart healthy.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. A diet that is low in red-meat, high in fruit and veggies, and low in processed foods is your key to keeping your figure and protecting your heart.
Do your part by learning about the risk factors for heart disease and the unique symptoms of heart attack in women. Then, take a few moments to sign up for Go Red for Women’s “Tell Five. Save Lives.” campaign so you can share life saving information about heart disease with the women in your life. What’s not to love?