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Heart disease is a major health risk. Here's 3 ways to reduce risk

Dec 4, 2013, 6 a.m.

Heart disease has been a major health problem in the United States over the last century. While the death rate from heart disease has decreased by 70% since 1950, there are still more Americans being diagnosed with heart disease today than ever before. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men and women in the US.

Heart disease is a particularly dangerous health problem because the cholesterol and fatty deposits associated with heart disease build up inside the arterial walls and reduce blood flow to the heart. This can lead to a number of life threatening conditions, including: heart attack, stroke, and congestive heart failure. Thanks to advances in technology, the risk of death has decreased over the past few decades. Bypass surgery, angioplasty, and medications for the heart all reduce the risks of heart disease. However, it remains one of the worst killers in our society.

There are a number of easy steps you can take to significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. These tips are easy to incorporate into your daily life, and can help ensure your heart's health for many years.

  1. Increase your fiber intake. Fiber is one of nature's best remedies for a number of health problems. Fiber absorbs bad cholesterol and fat from the arteries, significantly reducing build up in the arteries and blood stream over time. Eating fiber can also has a significant impact on your body's ability lose unnecessary weight. A number of studies, including ones done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of the American Medical Association have concluded that fiber has a significant impact on removing unnecessary fat from the body.
  2. Exercise. It is critical that you break a sweat every single day. Going to the gym or playing a sport is best, but even going on a brisk walk or gardening works. There are countless studies that show that regular exercise will have profoundly positive effects on the body, and can reduce the risk of heart disease. If possible, have a friend or family member join you when you exercise. Studies have also shown that social interaction, and particularly social interaction during a physical activity, has positive effects on the body and can reduce the risk of heart disease.
  3. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Getting your nutrients from fruits and vegetables has a number of positive health effects. The vitamins, antioxidants, and flavonoids in fruits and vegetables reduce inflammation in the body (one of the major causes of heart disease). Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet is easy, just drink some orange juice, eat a salad, or have an apple as a snack!

It goes without saying, but if you smoke, STOP! Smoking is the single biggest risk factor for heart disease.

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