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12 Ways to prevent heart disease

Heart disease or Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of Australia's largest health problems and is a major cause of death in Australia, Cardiovascular disease kills approximately one Australian every 12 minutes.

We have complied a list of ways that you can help to lower the risk of heart disease. Please feel free to share this blog article with loved ones so that they can also improve their chances of maintaining a healthy heart.

12 Ways to prevent heart disease

1. Watch your blood pressure High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly - at least once a year for most adults, and more often if you have high blood pressure. Take steps, including lifestyle changes, to prevent or control high blood pressure.

2. Keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control Cholesterol is a fatty substance carried in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to be healthy, but an imbalance of cholesterol in your blood can lead to a heart attack or stroke. High levels of cholesterol can clog your arteries and raise your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Lifestyle changes and medicines (if needed) can lower your cholesterol. Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. High levels of triglycerides may also raise the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women.

3. Maintain a healthy weight Being overweight or having obesity can increase your risk for heart disease. This is mostly because they are linked to other heart disease risk factors, including high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

4. Eat a balanced diet Eating a varied diet of healthy foods can help with your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Try to limit saturated fats, foods high in sodium, and added sugars. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

5. Exercise regularly Exercise has many benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these can lower your risk of heart disease.

6. Limit alcohol Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain. Both of those raise your risk of heart disease.

7. Don't smoke Being smoke free is one of the best things you can do to protect your heart. Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. Quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. You can talk with your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit.

8. Manage stress Stress is linked to heart disease in many ways. It can raise your blood pressure. Extreme stress can be a "trigger" for a heart attack. Some ways to help manage your stress include exercise, listening to music, focusing on something calm or peaceful, and meditating.

9. Look after your mental health

We know that there can be a greater risk of heart disease for people who have depression, are socially isolated or do not have good social support. Having a good social life with family and friends can help.

10. Manage diabetes It’s important to manage your diabetes to help prevent a heart attack or stroke. Did you know that having diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease? That is because over time, high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. So, it is important to get tested for diabetes, and if you have it, to keep it under control.

11. Get enough sleep If you don't get enough shut eye, you raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Those three things can raise your risk for heart disease. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Make sure that you have good sleep habits. If you have frequent sleep problems, contact your health care provider.

12. Visit your GP By having your regular health checks with your GP, you can significantly reduce your chance of developing issues with your heart and body in general, so don’t let your doctor become a stranger, get to know them and in turn they can get to know you and your body to help keep you healthy and well. Don’t delay, book your check up with your GP today!

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