© ap_i - Fotolia.com

Heart attacks and strokes are among the leading causes of death in the United States. Heart attacks claim more lives than strokes each year, but each condition has the same root causes. People who have high cholesterol and high blood pressure are at greater risk of developing heart attacks or a stroke. Doctors monitor both a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels for a reason. If a medical professional expresses concern about either of these statistics, he will prescribe corrective measures. A person does not need to suffer from hypertension or be on a cholesterol-lowering medication to reduce his risks. He just needs to follow a few simple steps.

Reduce Stress

Elevated stress levels can lead to hypertension. An increased amount of stress can also cause a person to exercise less. The reduced amount of exercise can lead to more weight problems and a less than healthy diet. People often have a tendency to eat crunchy, salty-snack foods when they are angered or stressed out.

Change Your Diet

The average American eats a diet that is high in fat and cholesterol. It is often high in sodium. If a person wants to reduce his risk of a heart attack or stroke, he may consider consuming more vegetables and changing his choice of snack foods. Potato chips may be tasty, but a batch of hot air popped popcorn is high in fiber and contains few calories.

Exercise More

There are few health problems faced by Americans that cannot be cured with a change in diet and more exercise. This is not a case of doctors sounding like a broken record, but a case of a sedentary lifestyle causing many of the problems people face. The Amish and Older Mennonites have lower rates of diabetes because they spend a large amount of their time engaged in physically demanding tasks.
If a person does get a warning from his doctor, he should follow his doctor’s advice and take additional steps to reduce his overall risk. Although no preventative measure can reduce a person’s risk to zero, the steps can make a clot in the heart or brain less likely.