Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with 50 percent of those deaths men and 50 percent women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Although there are risk factors that cannot be changed, such as family history, making lifestyle changes can significantly lower your risk of damage to your heart and circulatory system.
Engage in Physical Activity
Exercise of 30 minutes or more, most days of the week is advised to improve the health of your heart and circulatory system. Physical activity can help manage your weight and reduce your risk of developing other conditions that make your circulatory system work harder, like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Exercise is even effective when broken down into shorter sessions.
Quit Smoking and Tobacco Use
Smoking and using tobacco products significantly increases your risk for heart disease. Damage to your heart and circulatory system by the chemical compounds in tobacco can cause atherosclerosis, which may lead to heart attack. Once you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease significantly decreases over the next year, according to the MayoClinic website. Regardless of how long you have smoked or used other tobacco products, you will notice the benefits of quitting as soon as you do.
Eat High Quality Foods
Your food intake can significantly improve the health of your circulatory system and heart. Diets containing five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products are most beneficial to the circulatory system. Avoiding processed foods, foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, and excessive alcohol consumption can also improve your circulatory system health.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Managing a healthy weight plays a major role in the health of your circulatory system. Being overweight can increase risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, all of which put you at increased risk for heart attack and other circulation problems. By just losing 10 percent of your body weight, you can significantly increase the odds of not developing these chronic diseases.
Dr. Leslie Stoklosa has been writing since 2010. She has a Doctor of Chiropractic and a Master of Science in applied clinical nutrition from New York Chiropractic College. Stoklosa also has a Bachelor of Science in biology from State University of New York College at Fredonia.