6 Keys to Modifying Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease - dummies

6 Keys to Modifying Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease

By James M. Rippe

Part of Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Some risk factors for heart disease, such as age and genetics, are ones that you cannot change. Therefore, preventing heart disease requires controlling the risk factors that you can modify. Here are five modifiable risk factors related to your daily habits and practices to focus on as you embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle:

  • Control high blood pressure. Optimal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg or below.

  • Control your cholesterol levels. Desirable levels for total cholesterol are below 200 mg/dl. The lower, the better. Aim to lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) as much as possible.

  • Accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, if not all, days. Get at least 150 minutes weekly. Include two days of strength training.

  • Maintain your body weight at healthy levels. Aim for a body mass index between 19 and 25.

  • Maintain a fasting glucose level of less than 100 mg/dL (untreated).

  • If you smoke, quit.