MONDAY, April 17, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Only three percent of American adults follow the "big four" habits to prevent heart disease: Healthy diet, regular physical activity, proper weight, and not smoking, according to a recent national survey.
In order to help people improve their heart health, the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, has issued two new guidebooks about the factors that increase heart disease risk or that may contribute to worsening existing heart disease.
"Your Guide to a Healthy Heart" includes a detailed action plan for heart health and "Your Guide to Living Well With Heart Disease" has information to help people with heart disease protect and improve their heart health.
"In the United States, heart disease is the number one killer of both women and men. But the good news is that there are many things individuals can do to reduce their risks of heart disease," Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, NHLBI director, said in a prepared statement.
Here are some tips on how to reduce your heart-disease risk:
- Don't smoke. If you do, quit. Smokers are up to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-smokers.
- Stay trim. Overweight and obesity cause many preventable deaths.
- Get off the couch. Try to get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most -- preferably all -- days of the week.
- Eat right. Stick to a heart-healthy diet that's low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Be sure to include whole grains, vegetables, and fruits in your diet.
- Know your numbers. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL, triglycerides), and blood glucose. Work with your doctor to improve any abnormal numbers.