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Steps to Take to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

Family history and age are risks associated with cardiovascular disease that you can't do much about.  However, many other risks for heart disease and stroke can be greatly reduced through lifestyle changes. These modifiable risks include being overweight or obese, having diabetes, having high blood pressure, having high cholesterol levels, having a sedentary lifestyle, and smoking.

Here are some of the most important changes you can make:

Don't smoke, and if you do, quit.

People who smoke are more likely to have a heart attack than are 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.

Last Revised: February 18, 2015