You probably know there are many factors that contribute to heart attack risk. Some factors, such as aging, your sex, or your family history, you can’t change, but here’s some things you can change, and in the process you can lower your overall risk for heart attack.
- Belly Fat. Physicians claim if you’re a woman and your waist is 35 inches or great, you need to trim down. If you’re a man, your waist should be no larger than 40 inches. (To accurately measure your belly fat, read How Much Belly Fat is Too Much.) If you have more than the recommended 35 or 40 inches, you increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and insulin resistance. So, do what it takes to get rid of that flab.
- Cigarettes. If you smoke quit. Both male and female smokers greatly increase their risk of heart attack. According to the American Stroke Association, your risk for heart disease is two to four times greater if you smoke. If you want to learn other reasons to give up cigarettes read Smoking: It’s Never Too Late to Quit!
- Diabetes. Diabetes significantly increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, two out of every three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
- Exercise. If you currently don’t exercise, start. Exercise reduces high blood pressure, lifts depression, and improves your overall health. Moreover, as you age, you tend to gain weight, so that means you need to exercise and watch what you eat just to maintain a healthy weight.
- Greens. A study completed by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in 2007 found leafy green vegetables that contain nitrites are beneficial to the heart even if you eat a high fat diet. This is particularly good news for those people with a family history of heart disease or those people genetically inclined towards it.