That's the most powerful, preventable risk factor for heart disease.
Rochester, Minn. (PRWEB) January 18, 2007
It's never too late to take steps to prevent a heart attack, even if you've already had one. The new heart disease risk calculator (http://mayoclinic.com/health/heart-disease-risk/HB00047) on MayoClinic.com helps you become better informed about your heart health and learn how to reduce your risk for having a heart attack in the next 10 years.
After you answer several questions about your lifestyle and health, the calculator determines your 10-year risk of a heart attack (http://mayoclinic.com/health/heart-disease/HB99999). Risk scores are based on a number of factors, including age, gender, tobacco use, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Approximately one out of 10 people with a risk level of 12 percent will have a heart attack or die of heart disease within the next 10 years.
MayoClinic.com's Heart Disease Center (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-disease/HB99999) offers articles, tools, recipes and advice to help keep your heart healthy. Here are five heart disease prevention tips to get you started:
Don't smoke or use tobacco products
"If you smoke, quit," advises Sharonne Hayes, M.D., a cardiologist and director of the Women's Heart Clinic at Mayo Clinic Rochester. "That's the most powerful, preventable risk factor for heart disease."
For heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke.
You already know that physical activity is good for you. But you may not realize just how good it is.
Regular participation in moderately vigorous physical activity can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease by nearly 25 percent. And combining physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, results in even greater benefits.
Eat a heart-healthy diet
Consistently eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products can help protect your heart. Legumes, low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Limiting your intake of certain fats also is important. Saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.
Heart-healthy eating isn't all about cutting back, though. Most people, for instance, need to eat more fruits and vegetables, with a goal of five to 10 servings a day.
Maintain a healthy weight
As you gain weight in adulthood, the increase is mostly fatty tissue. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease -- high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Even small weight reductions can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 10 percent can decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of diabetes.
Get regular health screenings
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your cardiovascular system, including your heart. But without testing, you probably won't know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can determine your risk factors and whether you need to take action.
About MayoClinic.com (http://www.mayoclinic.com/)
Launched in 1995 and now visited by more than 7 million users a month, this award-winning consumer Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health. Produced by a team of Web professionals and medical experts working side by side, MayoClinic.com (http://www.mayoclinic.com/) gives users access to the experience and knowledge of the more than 2,000 physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic. MayoClinic.com offers users intuitive, easy access tools such as "Symptom Checker" http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/symptom-checker/DS00671) and "First-Aid Guide" (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/FirstAidIndex/FirstAidIndex) for fast answers about health conditions ranging from common to complex; as well as more in-depth sections on over 25 common diseases and conditions, a wealth of healthy living articles, videos, animations and features such as "Ask a Specialist" (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/AnswersIndex/AnswersIndex) and "Drug Watch." (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/AnswersIndex/AnswersIndex) Users can sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter, "Housecall," which provides the latest health information from Mayo Clinic. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.com. (http://www.mayoclinic.com/)