How Can You Lower Your Risk of Having a Heart Problem?


Quick Answer

One of the most important ways to lower the risk of a heart condition is to stop all use of tobacco products, according to Mayo Clinic. Other helpful tips include exercising at least half an hour most days and improving cholesterol counts.

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How Can You Lower Your Risk of Having a Heart Problem?
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Full Answer

The chemicals tobacco releases into the body cause changes in heart tissue and in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart problems. Smoking releases carbon monoxide into the lungs and decreases their capacity to supply oxygen to the blood. This increases blood pressure and the workload on the heart. Social smoking, where the smoker only smokes at a bar, or any amount of smoking is unsafe, according to Mayo Clinic. The risks of heart conditions for smokers who quit are the same as for nonsmokers within five years.

Exercising at a moderate level for 30 to 60 minutes daily lowers the chances of heart disease. The exercise does not have to occur all at the same time, notes Mayo Clinic. Working in a garden, walking the dog and playing a sport also count as exercise.

Lowering cholesterol is important for those with total counts over 200. Diet is the first step in lowering the numbers for bad cholesterol while increasing them for good cholesterol. If diet alone does not work, WebMD indicates medication is sometimes necessary.

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