A recent national survey shows that only 3 percent of U.S. adults practice all of the "big four" habits to help prevent heart disease: eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health has combined the latest information and guidance on all of the factors that increase risk for heart disease or may contribute to worsening heart disease into two new heart health guidebooks for men and women.
"In the United States, heart disease is the number one killer of both women and men," says NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. "But the good news is that there are many things individuals can do to reduce their risks of heart disease."
"Your Guide to a Healthy Heart" includes a detailed action plan for heart health. "Your Guide to Living Well With Heart Disease" is designed to help those with heart disease make decisions to protect and improve their heart health. Both guides provide specific information on lifestyle changes and treatments that can lessen a person's chances of having a heart attack either a first attack or a repeat one.
Heart disease prevention advice in "Your Guide to a Healthy Heart" includes tips on choosing health foods, starting and sticking to an exercise program, and breaking the smoking habit. Features include how to eat healthy while dining out, reading food labels and making substitutions for limiting saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, basics on the DASH eating plan, and a 12-week walking program.
In addition to the guidebooks, two fact sheets titled "In Brief: Your Guide to a Healthy Heart" and "In Brief: Your Guide to Living Well with Heart Disease" highlight the basics for heart health. There are many things men and women can do to reduce their risk for heart disease.
- Don't smoke, and if you do, quit. People who smoke are up to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-smokers.
- Aim for a healthy weight. It's important for a long, vigorous life. Overweight and obesity cause many preventable deaths.
- Get moving. Make a commitment to be more physically active. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
- Eat for heart health. Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Be sure to include whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
- 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 numbers that are not normal.
The guides are available for ordering through the NHLBI Information Center, (301) 301-592-8573 or 240-629-3255 (TTY) or online at http://catalog.nhlbi.nih.gov/
- Your Guide to a Healthy Heart (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/healthy-heart-guide.htm)
- Your Guide to Living Well with Heart Disease (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/living-with-heart-disease)
- In Brief: Your Guide to a Healthy Heart (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/healthy-heart-in-brief)
- In Brief: Your Guide to Living Well with Heart Disease (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/living-with-heart-disease-brief.htm)