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You can help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy by taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle. These healthy habits include not smoking, eating right, exercising regularly, staying at a healthy weight, and getting the screening tests you need.
A heart-healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, not just for people with existing health problems. It can help you keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. If you already have heart or blood vessel problems, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, a healthy lifestyle can help you manage those problems.
If you have children, you can be their healthy role model. If your habits are healthy, your children are more likely to build those habits in their own lives.
Everyone who uses tobacco would benefit from quitting. When you quit smoking—no matter how old you are—you will decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke, and many other health problems. For help with quitting smoking, see these topics:
- Quitting Smoking
- Quitting Smokeless Tobacco
- How Does Smoking Affect Your Lifespan?
- Quitting Smoking: Should I Use Medicine?
Eat healthy foods
Eating healthy foods is one of the best things you can do to prevent and control many health problems, including heart and blood vessel disease. For help with healthy eating, see these topics:
- Dietary Guidelines for Good Health
- Developing a Plan for Healthy Eating
- Quick Tips: Adding Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet
Improving your fitness is good for your heart and blood vessels, as well as the rest of your body. Being active helps lower your risk of health problems. And it helps you feel good. For more information about being active, see these topics:
Reach and stay at a healthy weight
Staying at a healthy weight is also part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Read more in these topics about reaching and staying at a healthy weight:
Get screening tests
Seeing your doctor regularly and getting screening tests is important. The sooner your doctor diagnoses a disease, the more likely it can be cured or managed. To reduce your risk of heart and blood vessel problems, be sure to keep an eye on your cholesterol and blood pressure. The tests you might have to check your risk for heart and blood vessel problems depend on your age, health, gender, and risk factors. Talk to your doctor to find out which tests are right for you.
Other Works Consulted
- Eckel RH, et al. (2013). 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/11/11/01.cir.0000437740.48606.d1.citation. Accessed December 5, 2013.
- Expert Panel on Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents (2011). Expert panel on integrated guidelines for cardiovascular health and risk reduction in children and adolescents: Summary report. Pediatrics, 128(Suppl 5): S213–S256.
Current as of:
April 29, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD - Cardiology
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of: April 29, 2021
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Contact Physical Activity Services
If you have questions about physical activity or exercise, call 8-1-1 (or 7-1-1 for the deaf and heard of hearing) toll-free in B.C. Our qualified exercise professionals are available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm Pacific Time. You can also leave a message after hours.
Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.
HealthLinkBC’s qualified exercise professionals can also answer your questions by email.
Contact a Dietitian
If you have any questions about healthy eating, food, or nutrition, call 8-1-1 (or 7-1-1 for the deaf and hard of hearing) toll-free in B.C. You can speak to a health service navigator who can connect you with one of our registered dietitians, who are available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. You can also leave a message after hours.
Translations services are available in more than 130 languages.
HealthLinkBC Dietitians can also answer your questions by email.
Find Services and Resources
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use the HealthLinkBC Directory to find hospitals, clinics, and other resources.