Easy ways to lower your risk of heart disease


It happens without warning. Every 43 seconds, someone in the United States will have a heart attack.  How can you lower your risk? First up: don't smoke! People who do are up to four times more likely to develop heart disease.

"Cigarette smoking is uh, probably one of the biggest risk factors for the development of plaque," said Dr. William Quinones-Baldrich, MD, a vascular surgeon at UCLA.

Next: make sure you're getting enough sleep! One study found every extra hour of sleep in middle age can reduce the risk of coronary artery calcification by 33 percent. Aim for seven to eight hours.

Also, up your vitamin D. Too little can raise the risk of peripheral arterial disease by 80 percent.

Next, consume more omega-3s.

"Fish, salmon is great,"Quinones-Baldrich said.

Having just one serving of fish high in omega-3 a week could reduce your risk of death from a heart attack by 52 percent! 

Lastly, drink wine and have more sex. You heard it right! Red wine in moderation contains antioxidants and flavonoids, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. And sex can lower blood pressure. One study found men who had sex at least twice a week were less likely to develop heart disease compared to those who had sex once a month. 

Exercise is, of course, another very important way to reduce your risk of heart disease. Just two and a half hours of exercise a week could reduce heart attacks by one third and prevent 285,000 deaths from heart disease in the United States.