Rate Your Risk
Reduce Your Risk 
 
 
 
 
 

Choose a topic

Eat Healthier
Be Active
Medication
Regular Check-ups

Quit Smoking
Limit Alcohol Consumption

Reduce Stress
Lower Your Cholesterol

Blood Pressure
See Your Doctor

Don't Ignore The Pain

Eat Healthier

Plain and simple, limiting your daily intake of saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol and calories can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Specifically, try to balance your diet with lean, protein-rich foods including soy, fish, skinless chicken, very lean meat, and fat-free or 1% dairy products.

Eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, along with foods high in soluble fiber (oats, bran, dry peas, beans, cereal and rice). Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, including fish, wild salmon, tuna, fish oils and certain nuts, also can help reduce your cholesterol and help maintain a healthy heart.

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Be Active

Studies continue to prove that being active for as little as 30 minutes a day can improve your overall health. Regular exercise lowers your cholesterol, improves blood flow and oxygen levels, and can help you lose weight.

Even if you're pressed for time (and who isn't), you can still work activity into your daily lifestyle.

See these tips.

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Medication

Certain medications, when combined with diet and exercise, can help lower your cholesterol levels, improve circulation and strengthen your heart. Talk with your doctor to see what's right for you.

Learn more about available medications.

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Regular Check-ups

If you're at risk for heart problems or have a family history of heart disease, talk to your doctor to learn how to reduce your risk. Early detection is one of your best defenses.

Anyone over 20 should have their cholesterol checked once every five years. Men over 35 and women should have their cholesterol monitored more frequently, especially if your levels are in the higher ranges.

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Quit Smoking

If you smoke, quitting now will greatly reduce your health risks, including your risk of heart attack, coronary heart disease, hardening of the arteries, stroke, chronic lung disease and cancer.

Quitting isn't easy, but it's importance can't be minimized. For strategies you can use to quit successfully, click here.

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Limit Alcohol Consumption

Excess alcohol consumption has been linked to a number of health disorders, including high blood pressure, higher levels of trigylcerides, heart failure and more. For optimum health, women should consume no more than one drink per day; men should limit their intake to no more than two drinks per day.

Find out if you have an alcohol problem by consulting Alcoholics Anonymous and answer the questions about whether or not AA is for you.

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Reduce Stress

Managing stress can help reduce your risk of serious heart problems by lowering your blood pressure, along with unhealthy amounts of stress hormones in your bloodstream.

Along with dietary and lifestyle modifications, you also can reduce your stress by practicing various relaxation techniques. A comprehensive list can be found here.

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Lower Your Cholesterol

The first step toward lowering your cholesterol should be practicing healthy eating. It's easier than you think. You don't have to give up your favorite foods, just eat less of them. Also try substituting healthier choices like fruits and vegetables, broiled or grilled fish and skinless chicken breast, leaner cuts of red meat, and fiber-rich foods like oats, dark breads and apples.

Reducing saturated fats like those found in fried foods, ice cream, butter and baked goods, along with limiting your intake of high-cholesterol foods including egg yolks, certain meats and shellfish, will help keep your cholesterol low.

Other ways to control cholesterol include medication, exercise and quitting smoking.

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Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can usually be controlled by making lifestyle changes. Losing weight if you're overweight, quitting smoking, and limiting your intake of fat, sodium, caffeine and alcohol.

If lifestyle modification alone doesn't control your blood pressure, you may require medication. Ask your doctor if this is right for you.

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See Your Doctor

If you're at risk for heart disease, or have a family history of heart problems, consult your doctor regularly. Other factors, like obesity, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, or high blood pressure also increase your risk of heart disease. If you're in this higher risk category, consult a cardiologist before you turn 55.

If you don't have a physician, visit our free physician finder.

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Don't Ignore The Pain

Many heart attack deaths can be prevented if caught and treated in time. If you feel any of the following warning signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

  • Any uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in either arm, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest pain.
  • Cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

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Hahnemann University Hospital | 230 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102