Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

Practicing a healthy lifestyle is an important part of cardiovascular disease prevention. This can involve exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. A heart-healthy diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and contains decreased amounts of sodium, fat, and cholesterol can also help lower your risk for the condition.

Preventing Cardiovascular Disease: An Overview

Cardiovascular disease is a name used to describe any condition that affects the heart ("cardio") or blood vessels ("vascular"). However, when most people talk about cardiovascular disease prevention, they are talking about preventing stroke and coronary artery disease (what most people refer to as just heart disease).
 
Heart disease and stroke are the first and third most common causes of death in the United States, respectively, accounting for about 40 percent of deaths each year. Stroke is also the most common cause of permanent disability.
 
Combined with the fact that cardiovascular disease is largely preventable, it is no wonder that in the case of cardiovascular disease, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
 
The good news: Research shows that people can lower their risk for cardiovascular disease enormously -- by as much as 82 percent -- simply by adopting sensible health habits, regardless of age, background, or health status.
 
Protecting your body from the effects of cardiovascular disease can be as simple as taking a brisk walk, eating a heart-healthy diet, or getting the support you need to maintain a healthy weight. It's never too late to start protecting your cardiovascular health. A recent study shows that among people ages 70 to 90, a healthy lifestyle reduces the chance of dying from cardiovascular disease by nearly two-thirds.
 
The steps for preventing cardiovascular disease involve:
 
  • Knowing your risk factors
  • Monitoring your health
  • Knowing your family history
  • Making lifestyle changes
  • Possibly taking medication.
     
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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