Cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death in the world. More than 900,000 Americans have a heart attack each year; more than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least one third of these deaths are preventable. Here are some tips to help you beat the odds. First, if you smoke, quit. According to the National Institutes for Health, doing so may reduce your risk by 50 percent. Here are a few more way to help you reduce the risk:

Exercise

When it comes to the heart, exercise helps in a number of ways: it strengthens the heart, making it easier to pump blood through the body with less strain. It also help maintain a healthy weight. This is important because obesity is one of the risk factors for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that individuals perform at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.

Pay attention to nutrition

A healthy diet can go a long way in reducing your risk for heart disease. According to a study conducted by the American College of Cardiology, people who followed the Mediterranean diet – which focuses on eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fish – were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease.

Reduce your stress

According to Harvard Health Publications, constant stress can increase risk factors such as high blood pressure and the formation of arterial plaque that can force the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Stress can also lead to overeating, smoking and other habits that increase your risk factors.

 Keep a positive attitude

A positive attitude can go a long way in helping many aspects of health and well-being, including heart health. The Harvard School of Public discovered that people who express optimism and are generally positive have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Physical Therapy can help

If you do have a heart attack or suffer from heart disease, cardiac rehabilitation may be able to help. According to the American Heart Association, cardiac rehabilitation can reduce mortality rates by 20 to 30 percent and reduce symptoms, including angina, dyspnea and fatigue as well as improve health factors like blood pressure and lipids and overall health and well-being.

Yet, cardiac rehab is grossly underutilized in this country. Only 14 to 35 percent of eligible heart attack survivors and 31 percent of coronary bypass surgery patients participate in cardiac rehabilitation, which is often a benefit offered by insurance plans and Medicare.

Alden offers an extensive Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at most of our facilities. Whether you’ve had a heart attack, heart surgery or another cardiac-related problem, our cardiac rehabilitation program – CardioPro™ — can put you on the path to recovery.

You’ll have the experts you need on your team – from specially trained registered nurses to experienced dietitians and certified physical and occupational therapists. We also involve the doctors who know you best – your own primary care physician and cardiologist. You and your dedicated team will develop a personalized plan that addresses your individual needs and anticipated outcomes to help you regain functionality and independence.