It's not yet known how or in what way preventing coronary MVD differs from preventing coronary heart disease (CHD). Coronary MVD affects the small coronary arteries, while CHD affects the large coronary arteries.
You can prevent or delay CHD by taking action to reduce heart disease risk factors. You can't control some risk factors, such as age and family history of heart disease. However, you can take steps to prevent or control other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking.
Regardless of your age or family history, you can lower your risk of heart disease with lifestyle changes and ongoing care.
Following a Healthy Diet is an Important Part of a Heart Healthy Lifestyle. A healthy diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products. A healthy diet is low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugar.
If you're overweight or obese, work with your doctor to create a reasonable weight-loss plan that involves diet and physical activity. Controlling your weight helps you control heart disease risk factors.
Try to do Physical Activity Regularly. Physical activity can improve your fitness level and your health. People gain health benefits from as little as 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. The more active you are, the more you'll benefit.
If you Smoke, Quit. Smoking can damage and constrict (tighten) blood vessels. It also can raise your risk of heart disease and heart attack and worsen other heart disease risk factors. Talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit. Also, try to avoid secondhand or passive smoking.
Learn how to Manage Stress, Relax, and Cope with Problems. This can improve your emotional and physical health. Physical activity, medicine, and relaxation therapy can help relieve stress. You also may want to consider taking part in a stress management program.
It's important to learn more about heart disease and the traits, conditions, and habits that can increase your risk for it. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors for heart disease and how to control them. If lifestyle changes aren't enough, you may also need medicines to control your risk factors. Take all of your medicines as prescribed.
Know your Numbers—ask your doctor for these three tests and have the results explained to you:
Know your Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference. BMI is an estimate of body fat that's calculated from your height and weight. You can use the NHLBI's online BMI calculator to figure out your BMI, or your doctor can help you.
In adults, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. To measure your waistline, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones. Measure your waist just after you breathe out. A waist measurement of 35 inches or more for women and 40 inches or more for men indicates an increased risk for heart disease and other health problems.
Know your Family History of Heart Disease. If you or someone in your family has heart disease, tell your doctor.
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