Think about the men in your life – your father, husband, brother or son. Now think about the steps both they and you take to stay in good health and prevent heart disease. If your mind is drawing a blank, now is the perfect time to bring up heart health.

More than 300,000 men die each year from heart disease in the United States. According to the CDC, that’s 1 out of every 4 men who die each year. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. The good news is heart disease deaths are steadily declining with increased awareness and preventive screenings. Taking proactive steps for your health and discussing your risks with a physician may keep you on the right side of the statistic!

While anyone can develop heart disease at any time, a man’s risk for heart disease begins to rise greatly starting at 45 years old. Like with most conditions, living a healthy lifestyle that includes eating a balanced diet, avoiding alcohol, and being physically active is your best preventive measure for heart disease. Several medical conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, can also increase your risk of developing heart disease. Be sure to discuss your full medical history with a physician to determine the appropriate steps to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Below are a few steps everyone can take to lower their risk:

  • Eat at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Maintain a healthy cholesterol level by eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. The CDC recommends having your cholesterol checked every five years.
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure by limiting sodium in your diet and getting regular blood pressure screenings.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Exercise regularly. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should participate in 2.5 hours of activity a week to maintain a healthy heart.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes. Smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease.
  • Manage your diabetes by monitoring your blood sugar levels closely.

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