Prevention of CVD Through Lifestyle Modification
Although there is little you can do affect genetic or hereditary causes of CVD, making positive lifestyle modifications can help reduce the risk. Here are 5 lifestyle changes that can have a profound impact on your heart health.
Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. So, if you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.
Maintain a healthy body weight. 60% of Canadians are overweight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate a number called the Body Mass Index (BMI). A BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered normal.
Hip-to-waist ratio is also used to determine increased risk of cardiovascular disease. A hip-to-waist ratio should be no greater than 1.0 for men and no greater than 0.8 for women.
Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthy foods can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. For example, eating foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high blood cholesterol, while limiting salt in your diet can lower your blood pressure.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which causes high blood pressure. The Centre For Addiction and Mental Health suggests drinking no more than
- 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day most days
- 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days