Although you may lack the ability to change some risk factors – such as family history, sex or age – there are some key steps you can take at reducing the risk of heart disease.
Life insurance is geared towards securing the financial security of an insured’s beneficiaries when they die. However, individuals with preexisting or developing health conditions could be faced with higher premiums.
Consumers with poor heart conditions would fall into this category, which makes sense for individuals to do all they can to stay healthy.
Physicians at Mayo Clinic have gathered five key heart-healthy strategies that could reduce your risk of heart disease.
Don’t smoke or use tobacco
Smoking or using tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors for developing lung disease as well as heart disease. Those who smoke will also face a higher life insurance premium because of all the negative side effects that follows smoking.
However, there is some good news, if you quit smoking your risk of developing heart disease drops dramatically within just one year. Meaning you will see an improvement in your health while qualifying for a lower premium.
Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week
Daily exercise can dramatically decrease your chance of developing heart disease. Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity for at least four to five days a week. This can be broken up throughout the day.
And remember that daily activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs, and walking the dog can all count towards your weekly goal.
Adopt a healthy eating habit
Physicians at Mayo Clinic advise their patients to adopt a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), which can help protect your heart against future diseases. Details regarding the diet can be found here.
In summary, the diet involves eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. Increasing one’s intake of fruits, vegetables, whole gains and low-fat dairy products. Also, adding beans and other sources of protein into your diet. A key part of this diet is limiting certain fats – such as saturated and trans-fat – from your diet.
Maintain a health weight
Excess weight that we accumulate over the years can increase the chance of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. A simple, but imperfect guide to determining your ideal weight is by calculating your body mass index (BMI). You can calculate your BMI here.
Keep in mind that muscle weights more than fat. For example, men and women who are very muscular and physically fit can have a high BMI without added health risks. In this situation, waist circumference will be a useful tool in determining abdominal fat.
Even the smallest amount of weight loss can have a substantial effect on one’s health.
Regular health screenings
Regular health screening can spot conditions – such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and diabetes – before they develop or worsen. All of these conditions can damage your heart and blood vessels.
Blood pressure screenings start at childhood and continue throughout one’s life. Screening for cholesterol levels should be measured at least once every five years starting at age 20. Talk to your regular physician about the appropriate time to screen for diabetes.