Heart-Healthy Living

Overview

Bowl of heart-healthy foodsHeart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. But you can do a lot to protect your heart and stay healthy.

Heart-healthy living involves understanding your risk, making choices, and taking steps to reduce your chances of getting heart disease, including coronary heart disease, the most common type. Coronary and other types of heart disease cause heart attacks, but by taking preventive measures, you can lower your risk of developing heart disease and also improve your overall health and well-being. 

Learn more about living a heart-healthy lifestyle, our role in research and clinical trials to improve health, and where to find more information.

Understand Your Risks - Heart-Healthy Living

The first step toward heart health is understanding your risk of heart disease. Your risk depends on many factors, some of which are changeable and others that are not. Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. These risk factors may be different for each person.

Preventing heart disease starts with knowing what your risks factors are and what you can do to lower them.

Risk factors for heart disease
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Your risk of heart disease is higher if you:

  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high blood cholesterol
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have prediabetes or diabetes
  • Smoke
  • Do not get regular physical activity
  • Have a family history of early heart disease (your father or brother was diagnosed before age 55, or your mother or sister was diagnosed before age 65)
  • Have a history of preeclampsia (a sudden rise in blood pressure and too much protein in the urine during pregnancy)
  • Have unhealthy eating behaviors
  • Are older (age 55 or older for women or age 45 or older for men)

Each risk factor increases a person’s chance of developing heart disease. The more risks you have, the higher your overall risk.

Some risk factors cannot be changed. These include your age, sex, and a family history of early heart disease. But many others can be modified. For example, being more physically active and eating healthy are important steps for your heart health. You can make the changes gradually, one at a time. But making them is very important.

Women and heart disease
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Women generally get heart disease about 10 years later than men do, but it’s still women’s #1 killer. After menopause, women are more likely to get heart disease, in part because estrogen hormone levels drop. Women who have gone through early menopause, either naturally or because they have had a hysterectomy, are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age who have not gone through menopause. Middle age is also a time when women tend to develop other risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure.

Preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) raises your risk of developing coronary heart disease later in life. It is a risk factor that you can’t control. However, if you’ve had the condition, you should take extra care to monitor your blood pressure and try to lower other heart disease risk factors.

You and your doctor: a heart-healthy partnership
- Heart-Healthy Living

Risk factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol generally don’t have obvious signs or symptoms. A crucial step in determining your risk is to see your doctor for a thorough checkup and risk assessment. Your doctor may use a risk calculator to estimate your risk of having a heart attack, having a stroke, or dying from a heart or blood vessel disease in the next 10 years or throughout your lifetime.

For example, the Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) Estimator considers your cholesterol levels, age, sex, race, and blood pressure. It also factors in whether you smoke or take medicines to manage your high blood pressure or cholesterol.

Your doctor can be an important partner in helping you set and reach goals for heart health. Ask about your risk for heart disease at your annual checkup. Since your risk can change over time, keep asking each year.

Questions to ask your doctor at your annual checkup

  1. What is my risk of developing heart disease?
  2. What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me, and what do I need to do about it?
  3. What are my cholesterol numbers? What do they mean for me, and what do I need to do about them?
  4. What is my body mass index (BMI) and waist measurement? Do I need to lose weight for my health?
  5. What is my blood sugar level, and does it mean I’m at risk for diabetes?
  6. What other screening tests for heart disease do I need? How often should I return for checkups for my heart health?
  7. How can we work together to help me quit smoking?
  8. How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?
  9. What is a heart-healthy eating plan for me? Should I see a registered dietitian or qualified nutritionist to learn more about healthy eating?
  10. How can I tell when I’m having a heart attack?

If you already are being treated for heart disease or heart disease risk factors, discuss your treatment plan with your doctor. Ask questions if you do not understand something or need more information. You may want to write down questions before your appointment as well.

Questions to discuss about your heart disease prevention and treatment plan

  1. How does my treatment compare with what is recommended in the latest guidelines?
  2. How well is my treatment plan working for me?
  3. Are my risk factors for heart disease in a good range or getting better?
  4. If your doctor recommends medicine or a medical procedure, ask about its benefits and risks.

Get Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Checked - Heart-Healthy Living

Two of the major risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. If either of these numbers is high, work with your doctor to get it to a healthy range.

High blood pressure
- Heart-Healthy Living

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and your blood vessels and lead to plaque buildup.

Most adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year. If you have high blood pressure, you will likely need to be checked more often. Talk with your doctor about how often you should have your blood pressure checked.

Your doctor will measure your blood pressure to see if it is higher than is recommended. The reading is made up of two numbers, with the systolic number above the diastolic number. These numbers are measures of pressure in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Learn more about getting your blood pressure measured in this video.

This video shows steps to getting your blood pressure measured. Avoid caffeine or tobacco 30 minutes before having it taken and rest for at least 5 minutes before. Then right before, take a breath and relax. Afterward, ask your doctor what your numbers mean and write them down.

Your blood pressure is considered high when you have consistent systolic readings of 140 mm Hg or higher or diastolic readings of 90 mm Hg or higher. Based on research, your doctor may also consider you to have high blood pressure if you are an adult or child age 13 or older who has consistent systolic readings of 130 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic readings of 80 to 89 mm Hg and you have other risk factors for heart disease.

If your blood pressure is high, your doctor will suggest lifestyle changes and may prescribe medicines. Learn more about high blood pressure. You can track your progress with our Tracking Your Numbers worksheet and bring it with you whenever you have your blood pressure taken.

High blood cholesterol
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High blood cholesterol is a condition in which your blood has unhealthy levels of cholesterol—a waxy, fat-like substance.

Many factors affect your cholesterol levels. For example, age, sex, eating patterns, and physical activity level can affect your cholesterol levels. Children also can have unhealthy cholesterol levels, especially if they’re overweight or their parents have high blood cholesterol.

A blood test can show whether your cholesterol levels are healthy. Talk with your doctor about having your cholesterol tested and how often you need it tested. Your cholesterol numbers will include total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol and “good” HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Ask your doctor what your numbers mean for you.

If you have unhealthy cholesterol levels, your doctor may suggest the lifestyle changes discussed in this topic. If heart-healthy lifestyle changes alone are not enough, your doctor may prescribe a statin or other medicine to help manage your cholesterol levels.

Choose Heart-Healthy Foods - Heart-Healthy Living

Heart-healthy eating involves choosing certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables, while limiting others, such as saturated and trans fats and added sugars.

Your doctor may recommend the heart-healthy Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan because it has been proven to lower high blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood. Visit our Delicious Heart-Healthy Eating page for recipes, cooking tips, and more.

Foods to eat
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The following foods are the foundation of a heart-healthy eating plan.

  • Vegetables such as leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale, cabbage), broccoli, and carrots
  • Fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, grapes, and prunes
  • Whole grains such as plain oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-grain bread or tortillas
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy foods such as milk, cheese, or yogurt
  • Protein-rich foods:
    • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna, and trout)
    • Lean meats such as 95% lean ground beef or pork tenderloin or skinless chicken or turkey
    • Eggs
    • Nuts, seeds, and soy products (tofu)
    • Legumes such as kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans
  • Oils and foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats:
    • Canola, corn, olive, safflower, sesame, sunflower, and soybean oils (not coconut or palm oil)
    • Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and pine nuts
    • Nut and seed butters
    • Salmon and trout
    • Seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, or flax)
    • Avocados
    • Tofu

Foods to limit
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A heart-healthy eating plan limits sodium (salt), saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and alcohol. Understanding nutrition labels can help you choose healthier foods. Visit How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to learn more.

Limit sodium

Adults and children over age 14 should eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. Children younger than age 14 may need to eat even less sodium each day based on their sex and age. If you have high blood pressure, you may need to limit sodium even more. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about what amount of sodium is right for you or your child.

Try these shopping and cooking tips to help you choose and prepare foods that are lower in sodium:

  • Read food labels and choose products that have less sodium for the same serving size.
  • Choose low-sodium, reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added products.
  • Choose fresh, frozen, or no-salt-added foods instead of pre-seasoned, sauce-marinated, brined, or processed meats, poultry, and vegetables.
  • Eat at home more often so you can cook food from scratch, which will allow you to control the amount of sodium in your meals.
  • Flavor foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.
  • When cooking, limit your use of premade sauces, mixes, and instant products such as rice, noodles, and ready-made pasta.

For more ways to limit your sodium, visit Living With the DASH Eating Plan or print this handout, Tips to Reduce Salt and Sodium.

Limit saturated fats

Saturated or “bad” fats come from animal sources such as butter, cheese, and fatty meats and should make up less than 10% of your daily calories. Read food labels and choose foods that are lower in these fats and higher in unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are also known as “good” fats and are found in vegetable oils and nuts.

Limit saturated fats by:

  • Eating leaner, lower-fat, and skinless meats instead of fatty cuts of meat and chicken with skin.
  • Consuming lower-fat dairy products instead of whole-milk.
  • Using certain vegetable oils (such as olive and canola oil) instead of butter, lard, and coconut and palm oils.

Learn more about limiting saturated fat from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Limit trans fats

Limit trans fats as much as possible by:

  • Limiting foods high in trans fats. This includes foods made with partially hydrogenated oils such as some desserts, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, stick margarines, and coffee creamers.
  • Reading the nutrition labels and choosing foods that do not contain trans fats.

Dairy products and meats naturally contain very small amounts of trans fats. You do not need to avoid these foods because they have other important nutrients.

Limit added sugars

You should limit the amount of calories you get each day from added sugars. This will help you choose nutrient-rich foods and stay within your daily calorie limit.

Some foods, such as fruit, contain natural sugars. Added sugars do not occur naturally in foods but instead are used to sweeten foods and drinks. They include brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, raw sugar, and sucrose.

In the United States, sweetened drinks, snacks, and sweets are the major sources of added sugars.

  • Sweetened drinks include soft drinks or sodas, fruit drinks, sweetened coffee and tea, energy drinks, alcoholic drinks, and favored waters. Sweetened drinks account for about half of all added sugars consumed.
  • Snacks and sweets include grain-based desserts such as cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, doughnuts; dairy desserts such as ice cream, frozen desserts, and pudding; candies; sugars; jams; syrups; and sweet toppings.

Lower how much sugar you eat or drink by:

  • Choosing drinks without added sugar such as water, low-fat or fat-free milk, or 100% vegetable juice.
  • Choosing unsweetened foods for snacks or dessert.
  • Eating sweetened drinks, snacks, and desserts less often and in smaller amounts.

Limit alcohol

Talk to your doctor about how much alcohol you drink. Your doctor may recommend that you reduce the amount of alcohol you drink or that you stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol can:

  • Add calories to your daily diet and possibly cause you to gain weight.
  • Raise your blood pressure and levels of triglyceride fats in your blood.
  • Contribute to or worsen heart failure in some people, such as some people who have cardiomyopathy.
  • Raise your risk of other diseases such as cancer.

If you do not drink, you should not start. You should not drink if you are pregnant, are under the age of 21, taking certain medicines, or if you have certain medical conditions, including heart failure.

Read the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to learn about what is considered one alcoholic drink and how calories vary by drink.

How much should you eat?
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You should eat the right amount of calories for your body, which will vary based on your sex, age, and physical activity level. Remember that some healthy foods, including oils and dairy, can still have a lot of calories. Some fruits can have a lot of natural sugar, especially when they are dried. Develop a personalized food plan at Get Your MyPlate Plan.

You can visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for more information about healthy eating and to read about their recommendations for the following healthy eating patterns.

Aim for a Healthy Weight - Heart-Healthy Living

A healthy weight for adults is usually when the body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. To figure out your BMI, use our online BMI calculator and compare your BMI with the following table. You can also download the BMI calculator app for iPhone and Android.

BMI chart
Body mass index (BMI) is used to determine whether you are at a healthy weight. Adults are underweight if their BMI is below 18.5 and are at a healthy weight if their BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. Adults are overweight if their BMI is 25 to 29.9 and have obesity if their BMI is 30 or above.

Always talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about what BMI is right for you. Talk to your child’s doctor to determine whether your growing child has a healthy weight, because his or her BMI should be compared to growth charts specific for your child’s age and sex. Following a heart-healthy eating plan and being physically active are some ways to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. For more information, visit Aim for a Healthy Weight.

Visit our Overweight and Obesity Health Topic for more information and watch our video below.

This video shows how little things we do each day can add up and lead to weight gain. Gaining 10 pounds adds more than 30 pounds of force to your knees, which can cause aches and pains. Taking action by eating healthy and getting physical activity can lower the risk of developing serious health problems. And you can do more of the things you enjoy.

Health risks of overweight or obesity
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The more body fat that you have and the more you weigh, the more likely you are to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, and certain cancers.

Measuring waist circumference
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If most of your fat is around your waist rather than at your hips, you are at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This risk may be high with a waist circumference that is more than 35 inches for women or more than 40 inches for men.

To correctly measure your waist circumference, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones. Measure your waist just after you breathe out.

Benefits of maintaining a healthy weight
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If you have been diagnosed with overweight or obesity, it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations for losing weight. Health professionals recommend losing 5% to 10% of your initial weight over the course of about 6 months. Even before you reach this goal, a loss of just 3% to 5% of your current weight can lower triglycerides and glucose levels in your blood, as well as your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Losing more than 3% to 5% of your weight can improve blood pressure readings, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.

Manage Stress - Heart-Healthy Living

Research suggests that an emotionally upsetting event, particularly one involving anger, can serve as a trigger for a heart attack or angina in some people. Stress can contribute to high blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors. Some of the ways people cope with stress—drinking alcohol, using other substances, smoking, or overeating—are not healthy ways to manage stress.

Learning how to manage stress and cope with problems can improve your mental and physical health. Consider healthy stress-reducing activities such as:

  • Talking to a professional counselor
  • Participating in a stress management program
  • Practicing meditation
  • Being physically active
  • Trying relaxation techniques
  • Talking with friends, family, and community or religious support systems

This video shows small steps you can take to reduce stress. Sit in a comfortable place and breathe in slowly through your nose, letting your stomach expand fully. Breathe out slowly through your mouth (or nose, if that feels more natural). Try to practice this once or twice a day for 10 to 20 minutes.

Ask your doctor what kinds of stress management are safe for you.

Get Regular Physical Activity - Heart-Healthy Living

Regular physical activity can:

  • Help you lose excess weight
  • Improve physical fitness
  • Lower many heart disease risk factors such as “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels, and manage high blood pressure
  • Lower stress and improve your mental health
  • Lower your risk for other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, depression, and cancer

Talk with your doctor before you start a new exercise plan. Discuss how much and what types of physical activity are safe for you. Even modest amounts of physical activity are good for your health. Get inspired from this video.

This video shows small changes you can make to move more throughout the day. These include taking the stairs, parking farther away from your destination, and getting up and taking breaks from your computer. You can build up to activity that gets your heart beating faster and eventually aim to move for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week. If you are busy, break the activity up into smaller chunks of time—it all adds up. Do activities that are fun, such as jumping rope, taking brisk walks, and dancing.

Aerobic exercise benefits your lungs the most. This is any exercise in which your heart beats faster and you use more oxygen than usual, such as brisk walking, running, biking, and swimming.

The more active you are, the more you will benefit. Participate in aerobic exercise for at least a few minutes at a time throughout the week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that each week, adults get at least:

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (for example, 30 minutes 5 days a week), or
  • 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (for example, 25 minutes 3 days a week), or
  • A combination of both moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity activity.

Another way you can begin to increase your activity level is by reducing how long you sit at a given time. Breaking up how long you sit will benefit your overall health.

Learn more about physical activity in our Physical Activity and Your Heart Health Topic.

Quit Smoking - Heart-Healthy Living

If you smoke, quit. Smoking 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 smoking. Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke. Learn more in our video.

This video shows small steps to take to help you quit smoking. Set a quit date, get support from family and friends, and stay busy and active. Avoid things like caffeine that trigger cravings, enjoy healthy meals and snacks, and track your progress.

If you have trouble quitting smoking on your own, consider joining a support group. Many hospitals, workplaces, and community groups offer classes to help people quit smoking.

Learn more about quitting smoking in our Smoking and Your Heart Health Topic and visit Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. For free help and support to quit smoking, you can call the National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848).

Talk to your doctor if you vape. There is scientific evidence that nicotine and flavorings found in vaping products can damage your heart and lungs.

Get Enough Good-Quality Sleep - Heart-Healthy Living

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. Not getting enough sleep or good-quality sleep over time can raise your risk for chronic health problems. The amount of sleep you need each day will change over the course of your life. This table reflects recent American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommendations that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has endorsed.

 
Age Recommended Hours of Sleep a Day
Babies 4-12 months 12-16 (including naps)
Children 1-2 years 11-14 (including naps)
Children 3-5 years 10-13 (including naps)
Children 6-12 years 9-12
Teens 13-18 years 8-10
Adults 18 years or older 7-9

Sleep and heart health
- Heart-Healthy Living

Sleep helps heal and repair your heart and blood vessels. It also helps:

  • Maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry or full
  • Support healthy growth and development
  • Support a healthy immune system

Over time, not getting enough quality sleep, called sleep deficiency, can raise your risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Get inspired with this video.

This video shows how binge-watching TV in bed may be preventing you from getting the 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night you need to keep your heart healthy.

How to sleep better
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You can take steps to improve your sleep habits. First, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to sleep. Learn strategies for getting enough sleep in the Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency Health Topic.

It may help to:

  • Spend time outside every day, if possible, and be physically active.
  • Avoid nicotine and caffeine.
  • Avoid heavy or large meals within a couple hours of bedtime. Also, avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Use the hour before bed for quiet time. Avoid exercise and bright light.
  • Take a hot bath or use relaxation techniques before bed.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark.

For more information about healthy sleep habits, visit Your Guide to Healthy Sleep.

Participate in NHLBI Clinical Trials

We lead or sponsor many studies relevant to heart-healthy living and reducing heart disease risk factors. See if you or someone you know is eligible to participate in our clinical trials or observational studies.

Trials at the NIH Clinical Center

Exploring diagnostic tests for lipid disorders

This study is exploring how different diagnostic tests can help us understand how lipid disorders, including high blood cholesterol and high blood triglycerides, affect the body. Information from this study may help improve the way lipid disorders are diagnosed or treated in the future. Participants must be at least 2 years old. This study is located in Bethesda, Maryland.

Evaluating heart conditions

This study aims to help train staff on a range of heart conditions by evaluating patients of all ages at the NIH Clinical Center who have heart disease or are at risk of heart disease. Participants in the study must be at risk for or have symptoms of cardiovascular diseases. Some examples of cardiovascular diseases include coronary heart disease, heart valve disease, cardiomyopathies, peripheral artery disease, congenital heart disease, and vascular disease of the kidneys. This study is located in Bethesda, Maryland.

Increasing physical activity in African American women who are at risk for diabetes

This study is testing whether using mobile health technology, such as smartphone apps and activity monitors, can help increase physical activity in African American women who are at risk for diabetes. To participate in this study, you must be an African American woman between 25 and 75 years old, have evidence of insulin resistance, and live in Prince George’s County, Maryland, or Ward 5, 7, or 8 in Washington, D.C. This study is located in Bethesda, Maryland.

Understanding heart and blood vessel diseases

This study aims to collect data and samples from people who have a heart or blood vessel disease, their family members, and healthy people. Participants must be at least 2 years old. This study is located in Bethesda, Maryland.
View more information about Vascular Disease Discovery Protocol.

To learn more about clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center or to talk to someone about a study that might fit your needs, call the Office of Patient Recruitment 800-411-1222.

Are you an adult who wants to help understand how eating lots of added sugars affects your health?

This study will see how eating high amounts of added sugars affects risk factors for heart and blood vessel disease or diabetes in participants who are eating an energy-balanced diet to prevent weight gain or energy-imbalanced diet that can cause weight gain. To participate in this study, you must be 18 to 40 years of age and have a body mass index between 22 and 28 that has not changed in the past six months.

Are you an adult who is curious about how sodium affects your blood pressure?

This study is testing whether limiting sodium can affect individuals with a specific genetic predisposition to high blood pressure. To participate you must be 18 years old or older and not have high blood pressure. Please note that this study is in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Are you an African American new mother who has overweight or obesity and lives in Philadelphia?

This study will compare usual and community-specific treatment to see which is more effective at helping African American new mothers lose weight after childbirth. To participate, you must have overweight or obesity, be a Philadelphia WIC participant, and have given birth within the last six months. This study is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Is your child black and 8 to 11 years old?

This study is testing a way of enhancing sleep in children with the goal of preventing obesity. To participate in this study, your child must be 8 to 11 years old and must be black or African American. This study is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Are you between 40 and 70 years of age, and do you have metabolic syndrome?

This study aims to test whether the medicine metformin, used to treat diabetes, can improve blood flow and the ability to do physical activity when combined with exercise in people who have metabolic syndrome. To participate in this study, you must be between 40 and 70 years old and have metabolic syndrome. This study is located in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Are you at least 21 years old, and do you have heart failure?

This study aims to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to understand how certain molecules that are made in the body of people who have heart failure affect their ability to be physically active. To participate in this study, you must be at least 21 years old, be diagnosed with heart failure, and be medically stable. This study is located in Baltimore, Maryland.
View more information about Exercise Intolerance in Heart Failure.

Are you a healthy adult who regularly sleeps for 6.5 or fewer hours?

This study is examining whether getting enough sleep can lower your risk of high blood pressure. To participate in this study, you must be between 18 and 65 years old, regularly sleep for 6.5 or fewer hours, and be able to adjust your sleep schedule for the study. This study is located in Rochester, Minnesota.

Are you an adult under 40 who recently had a spinal cord injury?

This study aims to test whether a physical training program called Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Row Training (RT) can improve exercise ability, and ultimately heart health, in those who have spinal cord injuries, compared with standard arms-only rowing exercises. FES-RT involves arm exercises combined with small electrical charges to weakened leg muscles. To participate in this study, you must be between 20 and 40 years old and have had a spinal cord injury in the previous 12 months. This study is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Do you have overweight?

Circadian rhythm disorders can cause overweight and obesity. This study is examining how not getting enough sleep causes these complications. To participate in this study, you must be between the ages of 20 and 40 and have overweight but not obesity. This study is located in New York, New York.

Do you have high blood pressure, and do you receive care at a community-based clinic in the South?

This study will explore an intensive high blood pressure management approach at participating community-based clinics. The approach aims to lower participants’ systolic blood pressure to 120 mm Hg. To participate in this study, you must be at least 40 years old, understand English, and not be pregnant. The study is located in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Are you an adult interested in comparing effects of different exercise training on blood pressure?

This study aims to compare how different types of exercise can affect blood pressure in African Americans. Participants will do either aerobic activities, focusing on raising their heart rate, or muscle-strengthening resistance activities, focusing on weights, for 24 to 26 weeks. To participate in this study, you must be between 18 and 50 years old, have a sedentary lifestyle and elevated blood pressure, and have been born in the United States to either two African American or two non-Hispanic Caucasian parents. This study is located in Chicago, Illinois.

Are you at least 35 years old, and do you have resistant high blood pressure?

This study aims to test the effectiveness of using lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and physical activity, in addition to medicines to help treat high blood pressure. To participate in this study, you must be at least 35 years old, be overweight, and have high blood pressure that has not been successfully treated with medicines. This study is located in Durham, North Carolina.

Do you take medicine for high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol?

This study will test a program that asks pharmacists to reach out to patients who have high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, or diabetes and help them stick to their plans for taking and refilling their medicines as prescribed. To participate in this study, you must be between 18 and 75 years old. The study location is in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Are you an adult who has uncontrolled high blood pressure?

This study will see whether an early notification system for health professionals can help manage patients’ high blood pressure, especially among those who have had a stroke or have an increased risk of stroke. To participate in this study, you must be between 18 and 85 years old and have high blood pressure that is not controlled by medicine and lifestyle changes. This study is enrolling native English, Spanish, or Hmong speakers. The study is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Are you at least 18 years old and interested in testing a smartphone-based weight loss program?

This study aims to test a smartphone-based program to help people monitor their efforts to eat healthy and reach a healthy weight. The study will look how effective smartphone-based feedback messages are at engaging patients and promoting weight loss. To participate in this study, you must be 18 or older, own and use a smartphone regularly, and be able to engage in moderate-intensity physical activity. This study is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Are you an adult who has pulmonary hypertension and would like to see whether healthy lifestyle changes can help?

This study is looking at a high blood pressure condition called pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). It will test whether better blood sugar control in the body improves this condition. Researchers will test this by having participants who have PAH follow a healthy eating plan and get more physical activity. To participate in this study, you must be between 18 and 75 years old and have been diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension. This study is located in Cleveland, Ohio.

Are you a healthy adult with no history of health problems who would be willing to train in breathing exercises?

This study aims to test whether breathing muscles affect blood pressure during physical activity by measuring oxygen levels and blood pressure during exercise on a recumbent bicycle. To participate in this study, you must be between 18 and 80 years old and have no history of heart, lung, brain, bone, muscle, or nerve diseases. This study is located in Rochester, Minnesota.

More Information

After reading our Heart-Healthy Living Health Topic, you may be interested in additional information found in the following resources. Help educate your family, friends, and community about heart disease with resources from The Heart Truth®.

Other resources
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