Learn how some simple actions can make a substantial difference toward a healthy heart

Unhealthy habits are like a warm bed on a cold day: easy to get into but hard to get out of. When it comes to heart health, Americans appear to not want to get out of bed. Cardiovascular disease accounts for approximately 800,000 deaths in the United States, or one out of every three.

With some simple lifestyle changes, the numbers of those at risk can be greatly reduced. Whether you make resolutions or not, as the new year begins, strive to make 2018 a heart-conscious year.

 GET MOVING

Two hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week may reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke by 30 percent.

 

 EAT HEART SMART

A balanced diet loaded with color: fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Avoid refined sugars, added salt, processed foods and saturated fats.

 

QUIT SMOKING

Physical withdrawal symptoms usually pass after a month, but within days blood circulation will improve and heart rate and blood pressure will lower. These improvements reduce the risk for heart attack. Within 48 hours all the carbon monoxide has left your body. Within 1 year, the risk for heart attack may drop by half. Within 10 years, the risk may drop to almost the same as a nonsmoker.

 

Sources: The American Heart Association, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Cardiology

 10 things you should know about heart disease and associated risk factors:

  1. More than 90 million Americans have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.
  2. Around the world, cardiovascular disease accounts for 31 percent of all deaths.
  3. More than 790,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year.
  4. Stroke has become the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S.
  5. Smoking rates in the U.S. have declined, but increased on a global level.
  6. One in three U.S. adults do not meet current recommendations for physical activity.
  7. An estimated 37.7 percent of U.S. adults are considered obese.
  8. One in three U.S. adults also have elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL/bad) cholesterol levels.
  9. Nearly 86 million Americans have high blood pressure.
  10. Approximately 23.4 million American adults have diabetes.

Source: The American Heart Association