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Lowering heart risk

Keep your blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg

health and fitness Updated: Sep 24, 2011 23:11 IST

1) Keep your blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg.

2) Systolic (higher number) BP of 120 to 139 mmHg or a diastolic BP (lower number) of 80 to 89 mmHg is pre-hypertension and should be managed with lifestyle changes or medicines.

3) Keep low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) under 100 mg/dl.

4) High-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) over 45 mg/dl for men and over 55 mg/dl for women.

5) Keep triglycerides (blood fats) below 150 mg/dl. If triglycerides are over 500, lower them before taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.

6) Quit smoking to cut back the risk of heart attack by 50%.

7) Opt for a high-fibre diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit, wholegrains, low-fat foods, fish, pulses and legumes, and unsaturated oils such as mustard, olive, sunflower, corn, and rapeseed.

8) Exercise for at least 40 minutes each day, doing a combination of aerobic exercises such as walking (speed of at least 4 km/hour) along weight training.

9) Lose weight. Extra weight means that the heart has to work harder to supply blood to the body. A weight loss of 10% or more lowers blood pressure and triglycerides in the blood.

10) If your LDL is still too high after about 12 weeks of diet and exercise, consider taking medication.