(BPT) – Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women,i and the total number of deaths from heart disease are rising.ii Cardiovascular risks tends to accumulate over time — the roots of which can often be traced to lifestyle choices made in early adulthood.iii You can help change this trend by prioritizing and role modeling healthy behaviors for yourself and the people around you, including your family and friends.
It is important for adults to have an active lifestyle. The American Heart Association recommends being physically active every day.iv However, even if you’re inactive now, you should start out slow — even a few minutes at a time may offer some health benefits. Exercise not only helps control weight but also strengthens the bones and heart.v Consider including your family or friends in your physical activities. Please check with your doctor before starting or changing any exercise regimen.
Another critical lifestyle habit is healthy eating. As adults, a healthy diet is one of the best weapons you have to fight heart disease. The food you eat, as well as the amount, can affect other risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and overweight.iv Consider choosing nutrient-rich foods and limiting the intake of sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages.iv The people you see regularly as well as those you share a meal with will notice your decisions for healthy eating and they may choose to join you with their food selections.
While physical activity and nutrition can dramatically impact heart health in the long term,v sometimes diet and exercise are just not enough. You may need to take medication, especially if you have a family history of heart disease or if accumulated risk factors become pronounced. It’s critical that your family members see you doing the right thing, like, for example, adhering to a treatment regimen recommended by your doctor.vi And, if your cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels are elevated above normal levels, get the facts and be proactive in addressing these concerns with your doctor.vii
When you live a healthy life, you may enjoy the benefits of a healthier heart. What’s more, when your friends and family see you prioritizing things like eating well and exercising or taking medication if you need to, they are more likely to do so as well. Being heart smart is important for everyone. You can take the lead and be a living example of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Start today and look forward to a healthier tomorrow for the people you care about.