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Day in the Life

Century Park Blog

Take Action for Your Heart

Date Posted



Health Tips

Take Action for Your Heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but it can often be prevented. Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can help you reduce the risk of heart disease and its risk factors. Take action to protect your heart by following these tips:

Get Enough Quality Sleep

Lack of sleep or getting poor-quality sleep increases the risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease and other medical conditions.

  • Try to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Exercise regularly, but not within 2-3 hours before bedtime.

Eat Better

A flexible and balanced eating plan can help lower your high blood pressure and improve your cholesterol.

  • Follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, which can help you create a heart-healthy eating style for life.
  • Read nutrition labels to pick the food lowest in saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.
  • Try a mix of lean cuts of meat, eat fish once or twice a week.
  • Consider whole fruits, dried fruits, unsalted rice cakes, fat-free and low-fat yogurt or raw vegetable as a snack.

Stop Smoking

Any amount of smoking, even light or occasional smoking, damages your heart and blood vessels.

  • Select a quit date and write yourself a contract that outlines your plan for quitting.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider about programs and products that can help you quit.
  • Join a support group. Many hospitals, workplaces and community groups offer classes to help people quit smoking.

Control Cholesterol

Unhealthy levels of cholesterol can lead to high cholesterol, which increases the risk of developing heart disease.

  • Try the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) Program which combines diet, physical activity and weight management to help lower high blood cholesterol and improve heart health.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet that is low in saturated fats, as these can raise LDL cholesterol levels.

Manage Stress

Learning how to manage stress with healthy coping strategies helps improve your emotional and physical health.

  • Use relaxation techniques that combine breathing and focused attention on pleasing thoughts and images to calm the mind and body.
  • Consider meditation, as it can help lower stress.

Manage Blood Sugar

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial for heart health, especially for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes.

  • Eat a diet rich in whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.
  • Monitor your carbohydrate intake and choose complex carbohydrates, like whole grains and legumes, to help control blood sugar levels.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about how often you should check your blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes.

Control Blood Pressure

Keep your blood pressure in a healthy range and keep track of your numbers. Blood pressure that’s consistently higher than 130/80 mm Hg can cause serious health problems.

  • Have your blood pressure checked each time you visit the doctor.
  • Use a blood pressure monitor to measure your blood pressure at home and learn how to measure it correctly.
  • Use a blood pressure tracker to keep a record of your numbers each reading.

Practice Self-Care and Find Social Support

Daily acts of self-care can benefit your heart because self-care is heart care. Studies show that having positive social support, close relationships and feeling connected to others makes it easier to stick to heart-healthy habits.

  • Try to do at least one positive action for your heart health each day.
  • Make the doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off.
  • Join an exercise class or a weight management group to connect with other like-minded people and stay motivated.

For more information about how you can take action to keep your heart healthy, visit

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