The American Heart Association reports that between 60 and 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Carrying around extra weight takes a toll on the body, increasing a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke. Overweight or obese men and women can work with their physicians to develop a plan for effective long-term weight loss, a plan that will likely include a combination of diet and routine exercise.

Understand and manage blood pressure: The AHA said that high blood pressure, a common condition affecting roughly one in three Americans, is often referred to as “the silent killer” because it does not necessarily produce symptoms. Blood pressure measurers the force pushing outward on the walls of blood vessels as they carry blood oxygen to the body’s organs, and the force created as the heart rests between beats. Overtime, the artificial walls of people with high blood pressure may become stressed and develop weak spots or scarring that makes them vulnerable to the buildup of plaque. Blood pressure can rise as a person ages, so managing blood pressure involves routinely checking it and making certain changes, such as eating healthy foods and exercising more often, if it is high.

Control cholesterol levels: High levels of low-density lipoprotein, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, can increase a person’s risk for heart disease. The AHA said that excess amounts of cholesterol can be deposited into the arteries as plaque. When that happens, it leads to a condition known as atherosclerosis, or a narrowing of the inside of the artery walls. That narrowing leads to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Men and women should get their cholesterol levels checked at least once every four to six years beginning at age 20. A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in animal products can provide a simple way for men and women to lower their cholesterol.

More information about heart disease and how to combat it can be found at

Source:  The Chronicle-Telegram 1-24-2018 Elyria, Ohio newspaper