-- Nearly one in three American adults has high blood pressure, yet only
68 percent are aware of their condition. High blood pressure has no
specific symptoms, so it's especially important to stay proactive with
a blood pressure test every two years. Normal blood pressure is
approximately 120/80 mm Hg. People with a blood pressure higher than
140/90 mm Hg include 69 percent of those who have survived a first
heart attack and 77 percent of those who have suffered an initial
Cholesterol and Your Heart
-- Your body develops enough cholesterol on its own. When an unhealthy
diet and sedentary lifestyle cause an increase in cholesterol levels,
fatty deposits form within blood vessels, making it difficult for blood
to flow properly. If a blood vessel ruptures or becomes blocked, the
brain cannot receive necessary oxygen, resulting in a stroke.
-- The most important dietary change to lower your cholesterol is to limit
the amount of saturated and trans fat that you consume. Swap cookies
for cantaloupe, fried chicken for baked chicken and butter for olive
oil. Your diet should include foods rich in fiber, such as citrus
fruits, beans, broccoli and whole grains.
-- Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol also has no symptoms. A
Lipoprotein Profile blood test every five years will alert you of any
problems. A healthy diet will help keep your cholesterol levels below
200 mg/dL, though your physician may prescribe medications if proper
diet adjustments do not render results.
Break the Habit
-- Cigarette smokers are six times more likely to suffer a heart attack
and two times more likely to suffer a stroke than nonsmokers. The
nicotine and carbon dioxide in cigarettes reduces the oxygen in your
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