How to Prevent Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a condition caused by the blocking and clogging of several arteries in the body as a result of excessive cholesterol, calcium and other substances that form plaque. In some cases, atherosclerosis will lead to the blocking of major arteries leading to the heart, resulting in coronary artery disease, triggering chest pains or causing heart attacks. When arteries to your brain are blocked, you may suffer from a stroke or an aneurysm. Since atherosclerosis can lead to these major health risks, preventing atherosclerosis is important to sustain the overall quality of your life. Atherosclerosis can be prevented by lowering your weight, your LDL cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure. Continue reading to learn more about how to prevent atherosclerosis.


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    Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Eating healthy meals will prevent atherosclerosis by keeping LDL cholesterol levels (known as "bad" cholesterol) low, reducing high blood pressure, and aiding in weight loss. To begin eating healthier, cut salt, sugar and other processed foods from your diet and instead eat high portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and smaller portions of dairy, meats and fish. Meet with your doctor or health professional to discuss and decide on the best diet that works for you.
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    Exercise regularly. To prevent atherosclerosis, begin exercising daily to lose weight, reduce high blood pressure and to lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Exercise will stimulate the enzymes that move LDL cholesterol from the blood to the liver, which turns it into bile that your body can easily expel. Perform aerobic exercise daily for between 20 and 30 minutes by walking briskly, running, swimming, bicycling or by performing any other aerobic activity you prefer.
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    Stop smoking and stay away from second-hand smoke. Smoking will cause plaque to build up, damages artery walls, and increase your blood pressure, putting you at a higher risk for atherosclerosis. Quitting smoking immediately will significantly lower many health risks.
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    Learn how to measure and manage your health by determining your cholesterol levels, blood pressure and body mass using BMI (Body Mass Index). Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking will improve your health and prevent atherosclerosis, however you must know how to look for signs of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and of being overweight.
    • Check your LDL cholesterol levels. To check your current cholesterol levels, meet with your doctor or health professional to receive a blood test. Although you should keep your LDL cholesterol levels as low as you can, ideal LDL cholesterol levels are lower than 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L) unless you are at a very high risk for heart disease, in which LDL cholesterol levels should be lower than 70 mg/dL (1.8 mmol/L). Improve your "bad" cholesterol levels by eating healthy, exercising, and quitting smoking.
    • Check your blood pressure. Meet with a doctor or and health professional to determine your blood pressure levels. Doctors and health professionals state that the ideal blood pressure should be 120mm Hg (15.9 kPa) systolic pressure and 80mm Hg (10.6 kPa) diastolic pressure for adults. If your blood pressure falls into the high blood pressure range beginning at 180mm Hg (23.9 kPa) over 110mm Hg (14.6 kPa) then you should immediately begin to focus on lowering your blood pressure back to a normal level to help prevent atherosclerosis. Focus on eating healthy, exercising, and quitting smoking to help lower your blood pressure.
    • Calculate your BMI and determine your ideal weight. Have your BMI calculated using your current height and weight to determine if you are healthy or overweight. To calculate your BMI, you can visit your doctor or health professional for assistance or locate a BMI calculator on the Internet. If you are considered overweight or obese, begin eating healthier and exercise regularly to achieve your target weight.

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Categories: Cardiovascular Health and Blood Pressure