Cardiovascular diseases—all diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels—are the number one cause of death globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The good news is that you can take action to assess and potentially reduce your risk through preventative screenings and healthy lifestyle changes. Check out the tips below to get started!
Your health care provider can assess your risk for cardiovascular disease through preventative screenings, including weight, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Don’t stop at just knowing your numbers, though! Talk with your health care provider about what they mean and steps that you can take to keep your numbers in a healthy range. Use the My Health Finder tool to get screening recommendations based on your age and sex.
Any amount of physical activity offers health benefits, activity levels equivalent to 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity can significantly reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, and even more physical activity can reduce risk further! For tips and motivation, check out the Department of Health and Human Services Move Your Way website.
Eating patterns low in sodium (salt) and saturated fats can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. Calculate your MyPlate Plan to find out how much and which foods you need, based on your height, weight, age, and physical activity level.
Getting enough sleep is important for blood pressure, weight maintenance, and other cardiovascular health factors. While sleep requirements vary from person to person and change over the course of your life, most adults need at least 7 hours a day. Learn more at Your Guide to Healthy Sleep.
A healthy weight is different for everyone and maintaining a healthy weight can help protect against cardiovascular disease. Factors that influence weight maintenance include eating pattern, physical activity, sleep, and stress. Learn more about healthy weight.
It’s never too late to quit smoking and doing so now improves your health and reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses. Start your quitting journey today!
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation (2 drinks in a day or less for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women). Alcohol consumption is associated with factors that increase risk for cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure. Refer to the Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol for more information.
Some risk factors for cardiovascular disease—including age and genetics—cannot be modified by changes in lifestyle, and sometimes lifestyle modifications may not be enough to significantly lower the risk. In these situations, talk with your health care providers to discuss other ways to reduce risk, and visit the CDCs Know Your Risk for Heart Disease page to learn more.