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 Lifestyle Changes and Heart Disease

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Drinking, smoking and stress are contributing risk factors for heart disease. Living a healthier lifestyle can help prevent heart disease.


According to the American Heart Association drinking too much alcohol can raise the levels of some fats in your blood. It can also lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and an increased calorie intake.

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. This means an average of one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. (A drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.) If you do not currently drink alcohol it is recommended you not start. Consult your doctor on the benefits and risks of consuming alcohol in moderation.

Smoking/Tobacco Use

Cigarette smoking is a major cause of coronary artery disease, which leads to heart attack. You should eliminate all tobacco products to help lower your risk.

Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases HDL (good) cholesterol, decreases exercise tolerance and increases the tendency for blood to clot. Smoking also increases the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease after bypass surgery. Cigarette smoking combined with a family history of heart disease also seems to greatly increase the risk.

As soon as you stop smoking, your body begins to heal itself from the devastating effects of tobacco.

The Ross Heart Hospital's Smoking Cessation Clinic offers support for those trying to quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco. The clinic is  pharmacist-run and physician supervised, providing consultation and support services to those ready to quit nicotine for good. To make an appointment, please contact 614-293-7677.


Increased stress can be a factor in developing heart disease. Emotional stress can lead to the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased susceptibility to substance abuse and illness
  • Less resistance to disease including heart disease
  • Depression

Tips to reduce or manage the stress in your life:

  • Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. A nutritious, well-balanced diet and exercise can keep your body fit and able to resist disease, and exercise is an excellent way to elevate your mood.
  • Talk about stressful situations with someone you trust. Sometimes just talking about your problems and concerns can help put them into perspective and give you insights into ways to deal with them.
  • Stay organized to help manage your time more efficiently.
  • Remember, no one can do it all alone, so ask for help.
  • Use relaxation techniques to calm your mind and body.
  • Get professional help if you need it.