4 Ways To Live Longer With Heart Disease

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America for both men and women, especially for African-American women. If you already have heart disease – a lifelong condition – then you know how important it is to develop healthy lifestyle habits early on.

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“Adopting or maintaining a healthy lifestyle can substantially reduce the incidence of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as reduce the incidence of coronary artery disease in young women,” said Andrea Chomistek, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Indiana University Bloomington and lead author of a recently published study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

That said, here are four ways you can live longer and healthier even if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease.

1. Quit smoking.

If you want to live a long, healthy life, you must stop smoking. Simple as that. That small cigarette you inhale every day is responsible for so much damage, including blood clots, increased blood pressure, faster heart rates and higher risks for heart attacks and strokes. Not worth it!

2. Exercise daily.

According to the American Heart Association, getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can help lower your blood pressure while increasing your HDL or “good” cholesterol. Be sure to check with your doctor first before starting any new exercise routine.

3. Eat healthier.

Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables and fat-free or low-dairy products to your diet and limiting your intake of sugar, sodium, saturated and trans fats and red meat, which is otherwise known as the DASH diet, can lower your blood pressure in just two weeks.

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4. Eliminate stress.

Too much stress can be poisonous and wreak havoc on your health. Not only does stress increase your muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure, but it can also lead to habits that increase your risk for developing heart disease, such as overeating, which can cause further damage to your arteries. The best solution? Take part in activities that relax you.