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The Virginia Department of Health's Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program (link: and the Million Hearts™ (link: initiative to fight heart disease offer guidelines to help prevent heart disease:

  • Remember Your ABCS
    Keep the ABCS in mind every day and especially when you talk to your doctor:
    • Appropriate Aspirin Therapy for those who need it
    • Blood Pressure Control
    • Cholesterol Management
    • Smoking – Quit or Do not Start
  • Eat Healthy for Your Heart
    What you eat has a big impact on your heart health. When planning your meals and snacks, try to:
    • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
    • Check the labels on your food and select those with the lowest sodium. Too much sodium can increase your blood pressure.
    • Limit foods with high amounts of saturated fat, transfat, and cholesterol. You can find this information on the Nutrition Facts label.
    • Cook at home more often. Whenever possible, select foods that are low in sodium or have no salt added. Limit sauces, mixes, and "instant" products, including flavored rice and ready-made pasta.
  • Talk to Your Doctor
    Share your health history, get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked, and ask if taking an aspirin each day is right for you.
  • Control Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
    High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke. One in 3 U.S. adults has high blood pressure, and half of these individuals do not have their condition under control. Similarly, high cholesterol affects 1 in 3 American adults, and two-thirds of these individuals do not have the condition under control. Half of adults with high cholesterol do not get treatment. If your blood pressure or cholesterol is high, take steps to lower it. This could include eating a healthier diet, getting more exercise, and following your doctor's instructions about medications you take.
  • Get Moving
    Obesity can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. To keep your body at a healthy weight and to fight high blood pressure and cholesterol, make physical activity part of your daily routine. Try to fit in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week. For example, you could take a brisk 10-minute walk 3 times a day, 5 days a week.
  • Quit Smoking
    Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you're a smoker, quit as soon as possible, and if you don't smoke, don't start. You can also support smoke-free policies in your community and try to avoid secondhand smoke.
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Source: February 2012, About Heart Disease & Stroke,