Keeping Your Heart Healthy

February is National Heart Disease Awareness Month, and a perfect time to take stock of your heart health. Two important elements in maintaining a healthy lifestyle include being aware of the dangers of high cholesterol, and understanding high blood pressure. Both can be inherited risks, but aggravated – or controlled effectively – through diet, exercise and medications.

Prevention and treatment of high cholesterol

Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease.  Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. The good news is, you can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Take responsibility for managing your cholesterol levels. Whether you’ve been prescribed medication or advised to make diet and lifestyle changes to help manage your cholesterol, carefully follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Lifestyle changes

Your diet, weight, physical activity, and exposure to tobacco smoke all affect your cholesterol level — and these factors may be controlled by:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet
  • Enjoying regular physical activity
  • Avoiding tobacco smoke

Know your fats

Knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol and which ones don’t is the first step in lowering your risk of heart disease.

Cooking for lower cholesterol

It’s not hard to whip up recipes that fit with the low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol eating plan recommended by scientists to help you manage your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Understand drug therapy options

For some people, lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to reach healthy cholesterol levels. Your doctor may prescribe medication. Learn about:

  • Types of cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Tips for taking medications

Work with your doctor

It takes a team to develop and maintain a successful health program. You and your healthcare professionals each play an important role in maintaining and improving your heart health. Know how to talk with your doctor about your cholesterol levels and be sure you understand all instructions. Follow your plan carefully, especially when it comes to medication — it won’t work if you don’t take it as directed. And learn how to make diet and lifestyle changes easy and lasting.

Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!