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Protect your heart

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Here are a few tips on how to control those risk factors and protect your heart:

Get active
30 minutes of activity a day can help prevent heart attack and stroke. Try to make exercise a regular part of your life: use the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. Being active is also a great way to relieve stress and control your weight, which are both risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

 
 

Stop smoking and protect yourself from tobacco
If you stop smoking, your risk of coronary heart disease will be halved within a year and will return to a normal level over time. Avoid smoke-filled environments: exposure to second-hand smoke significantly increases the risk of heart attack.

 
 

Eat healthily
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, a variety of whole grain products, lean meat, fish, peas, beans, lentils, and foods low in saturated fats. Be wary of processed foods, which often contain high levels of salt. Try to avoid drinking alcohol or if you do drink, make sure it is in moderation. Drink lots of water!

 
 

Maintain a healthy weight
Keeping a healthy weight and limiting your salt intake will help to control your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. A good way to keep track of a healthy weight is to use BMI (Body-Mass Index) which is a measure of how much body fat is on a person based on their height or weight. To calculate your BMI, you divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height squared (in meters). A healthy adult should keep his or her BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m^2.

 
 
 

Know your numbers
Have your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels checked regularly. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major factor for approximately half of all heart disease and stroke. High blood cholesterol and glucose levels can also place you at greater risk.

 
 

Know the warning signs
Know the warning signs: the sooner assistance is sought, the greater the chances of a full recovery. Learn about CPR and get certified from your local organization so that you are able to help out in case someone goes into sudden cardiac arrest.

 
 
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