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Q: What are some ways to reduce the risk of heart attack?

Posted February 13, 2013 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: Heart attacks are the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. However, there are many things that individuals can do to reduce their risk of a heart attack. “Life’s Simple 7,” developed by the American Heart Association, provides a good starting place: Get active. Control cholesterol. Lose weight. Stop smoking. Eat better. Manage blood pressure. Reduce blood sugar. You’ve probably read or heard about these same seven things before — because they work.

Adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days per week. And children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Cholesterol levels greater than 200 need attention. Regularly scheduled wellness screenings are important, as well as understanding the various types of cholesterol and their role.

Maintaining a healthy weight is significant in preventing heart disease. If you are a smoker, quitting is one of the best things you can do to improve your overall health. A healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grain fiber and lean proteins is a sure way to keep your heart healthy. Keeping your blood pressure less than 120/80 can reduce stress on your heart.

Finally, a blood sugar count higher than 100 could indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes, and diabetes greatly increases your risk for heart disease.

Minimizing your health risks by taking care of yourself with these “Simple 7” is a start to a healthier heart. Take care of yourself — and your heart.

Information provided by Greene County Medical Center, Jefferson. “Life’s Simple 7” is from the American Heart Association website

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