SATURDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Five simple steps can help
lower your risk of heart disease, says a leading expert on
About 58 million Americans have heart disease and more needs to
be done to educate people about risk factors and prevention, said
Dr. Holly Anderson, director of education and outreach at the
Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute of New York-Presbyterian
Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
She offered the following heart health tips:
- Know your numbers. Ask your doctor about what are considered
normal numbers for blood pressure, cholesterol and
- Start exercising. Walking for just 20 to 30 minutes a few days
a week can reduce the risk of premature death by more than 50
percent. Physical activity reduces blood pressure, improves
cholesterol, reduces stress, improves sleep, boosts mood, improves
cognition and prevents memory loss.
- Laugh. Just 15 minutes of laughter equals about 30 minutes of
aerobic exercise in terms of cardiovascular health. Research has
also linked laughter with reductions in pain and anxiety, health
function of blood vessels, and increased levels of brain hormones
that improve your mood.
- Pay more attention to your waistline than your weight. The
waistline is a better measurement of overall health than weight
because the amount of fat around your waist is directly linked to
high blood pressure and high cholesterol and can increase your risk
- Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep boosts blood pressure,
induces stress, increases your appetite, slows your metabolism,
dampens your mood and decreases cognition.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute outlines how
prevent and control heart disease risk
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