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Wisconsin Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program

Steps to Take to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

There are some risks associated with cardiovascular disease that you can't do much about, such as family history and age. Some other factors that can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease include being overweight or obese, having diabetes, having high blood pressure, having high cholesterol levels, having a sedentary lifestyle, and smoking.

Many of the other risks can be greatly reduced through lifestyle changes. Some of the most important changes are:

Don't smoke, and if you do, quit

People who smoke are more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-smokers. Smoking also boosts the risk of stroke and cancer. If you need help quitting, call the toll-free Wisconsin Tobacco Quitline at 1-877-270-7867.

Eat for heart health

Choose a diet low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol that includes whole grains and at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Aim for a healthy weight

It's important for a long, vigorous life. Overweight and obesity cause many preventable deaths.

Get moving

Make a commitment to be more physically active. Try to get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week.

Know your numbers

Ask your health care professional to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Work with them to improve any numbers that are not normal.

For more information, visit the American Heart Association (exit DHS)

Last Revised: March 18, 2013