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Preventing Heart Disease At Any Age

Most adults are familiar with one more more ways of preventing heart disease. The public has been barraged with health studies on what’s good for them and what’s bad.

When it comes to heart health, choose good nutrition; lower LDL (the bad) cholesterol and high blood pressure; be physically active; manage diabetes or prediabetes; reduce stress; limit alcohol; and don’t smoke.

You’ve heard it before, over and over again. Nonetheless, an obesity epidemic persists in the U.S. and most people don’t follow exercise or nutritional guidelines. And not enough people are getting screened for heart disease risk factors, especially those who have a family history of heart disease, heart attacks or strokes.

“We can prevent heart attacks, but this is the thing: Prevention starts with you, the patient,” says Romeo Majano, M.D. [1], medical director, Interventional Cardiology, Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute [2]. “If you know that in your family there’s a history of strokes, heart attacks, sudden death, cholesterol issues, hypertension issues, diabetes … then you’re the first person who needs to identify yourself as someone at risk and then seek medical attention so we can modify the modifiable risk factors. And a lot of them are modifiable, if not all of them.”

If you have a family history of heart disease, then screenings become even more important, especially looking at cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

“If you have a bad family history, you may not stop at numbers, but actually have additional testing to look at the types of particles in your cholesterol,” explains Dr. Majano. “You could have the really, really bad atherogenic LDL particles that cause plaque buildup (in arteries) and cause heart attacks. LDL is the bad cholesterol, but there are many levels of bad.”

Promoting Heart Health at All Ages
No matter what your age, everyone can benefit from a healthy diet and adequate physical activity, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). It’s starts with daily nutrition. The AHA says that the food you eat “can decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.”

Here are the basic recommendations from the AHA:

Nutrition:

Physical Activity:

Here are the AHA’s key recommendations [3] by age group

In your 20s:

In your 30s:

In your 40s:

In your 50s:

In your 60s-plus: