Heart disease risk - Seven ways to lower your risk of life-threatening condition

Heart disease and cardiovascular disease risk could be lowered by making the right lifestyle changes, according to Aetna International.

Lowering you risk of the conditions will also reduce your chance of having a stroke, heart attack, or developing a circulatory disorders.

“As the world’s population grows, pushing seven billion, and people continue to age, cardiovascular disease remains a significant threat and one which we cannot ignore,” said Aetna International’s Senior Vice President, Dr Sneh Khemka.

“Through education and supportive measures we can  encourage people to make sustainable lifestyle changes that reduce risk factors and address the growing problem of cardiovascular disease.”

Be proactive

Blood pressure must be monitored to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, said Dr Sneh.

The higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“You can try to keep track of your blood pressure by measuring it at home regularly,” said Dr Sneh.

“Be aware, some individuals’ blood pressure increases only when they are at the doctor’s office.”

Eat right

You could live longer by following a healthy balanced diet, the NHS said.

Cut out saturated fats - for example, vegetable oil - and replace them with unsaturated fats, including cream, butter and cheese.

“Other superfoods are also beneficial,” added Sneh.

“Lentils, dark chocolate, garlic and oranges have all been shown to reduce blood pressure. Kale and pomegranates reduce plaque formation, and almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts and sardines have been shown to benefit cholesterol.”

Combat stress

Stress increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attacks and death.

Try and avoid situations that may make you feel anxious.

“Regular exercise and sufficient sleep are two key contributing factors in reducing stress.”

Change the way you cook

Cut out frying food, Dr Sneh advised.

The best way to lower your heart disease risk is to switch to steaming, boiling, baking or grilling food.

Lower alcohol intake

“Avoid consuming more than 14 units a week and avoid binge-drinking at weekends,” said Dr Sneh.

“If you are going to drink, red wine in moderate amounts can help combat cardiovascular disease.”

Attend routine health checks

Knowing your blood pressure, blood-sugar, cholesterol and body mass index could all help you to know whether you’re at risk of cardiovascular disease.

The NHS Health Check is a health check-up for adults in England aged 40-74.

It's designed to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes or dementia.

Exercise regularly

Exercise improves circulation and heart health overall, said Dr Sneh.

You don’t need to run a marathon on day one, the doctor said.

“If you're not currently that active, try and gradually work up to an aerobic session [leaving you slightly out of breath] of about 20 to 30 minutes, at least three times a week.

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