Heart disease causes one in every four deaths in the United States and is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your chances of being diagnosed with heart disease by making healthy life choices and managing any health conditions you may have.

It starts with a healthy diet and healthy weight. Choosing a meal and snacks that are well-balanced and healthful can help you avoid heart disease and its side effects. Be sure to add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet and try to remove processed foods. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease as well. Daily physical activity can help decrease your chances of being diagnosed with heart disease. Doctors recommend adults get two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week; children and adolescents should be active for one hour per day.

Another way to decrease your chances of heart disease is to quit smoking and keep alcohol consumption to a moderate rate. Men are suggested no more than two drinks per day, and women are suggested no more than one.
“It is imperative that you add fruits and vegetables to your diet as well as exercise regularly to decrease your chances of being diagnosed with heart disease,” said Theodore Addai, M.D, cardiologist with Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois. “But just as important is the management of your other medical conditions.”

High cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes are all associated with increased risk of heart disease. These conditions can usually be controlled by a combination of prescription medication and changes to your diet. Your health provider should check your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels on a regular basis. You and your health care team can work together to prevent or treat the medical conditions that lead to heart disease. Discuss your treatment plan regularly, and bring a list of questions to your appointments.

For more information, visit cdc.gov/heartdisease.

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Andrew Dilbeck

HSHS Illinois
Office: 217-464-5610

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