Did you know that heart disease and heart attacks are preventable? Heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, doesn\u2019t have to be a death sentence. Heart specialists have identified essential ways to reduce the risk of heart disease. These involve reducing the factors that lead to clogged arteries, which can restrict or cut off blood flow to the heart.\nHow to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease\n\nIf you smoke, stop: Smoking causes a buildup of fatty substances in the arteries.\nLower your blood pressure: High blood pressure makes the heart pump harder and can cause artery walls to bulge or burst.\nLower your cholesterol: High cholesterol results in accumulation of plaque in the arteries.\nGet treatment for diabetes: Diabetes causes inflammation of blood vessels and results in more plaque-forming cholesterol.\nReduce your waistline: Abdominal obesity increases cholesterol levels, plaque, and inflammation of arteries.\nReduce stress: Stress can increase cholesterol levels and blood pressure.\nEat healthy: High-fat diets increase cholesterol. Eat foods low in fat, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.\nExercise: 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week burns fat and lowers cholesterol.\nDrink alcohol in moderation: Individuals whose lifestyles include one 12-ounce beer, one four-ounce glass of wine, or one ounce of liquor up to three times a week have been shown to have a reduced risk of heart disease. Consumption in excess of that increases the risk of heart disease.\nEat less: Reducing total calorie intake reduces fat that raises cholesterol.\n\nIf you are at risk, or think you may be at risk for any of these factors, or to learn more about how to reduce your risk for heart disease, consult your primary care physician or visit UPMC\u2019s Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC.com\/HVI.