Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 4 deaths is caused by heart disease. The main risk factors for developing heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and using tobacco.

Although some people are born with a genetic predisposition for cardiovascular disease, that doesn't mean it's not preventable. There are lots of ways to prevent the onset of heart disease — and keep it from worsening if you already have been diagnosed with a particular heart problem. Let’s look at some prevention tips that will help you keep your heart strong and healthy:

1. Maintain a healthy weight
Many people wonder how to prevent heart disease, and many of them don’t realize that having too much weight is the main risk factor for heart disease, and it impacts the majority of Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that 74 percent of U.S. adults have extra weight, including nearly 43 percent who are obese.

Obesity also raises the risk of other heart-related health issues such as stroke and diabetes. When you lose weight, however, everything starts to fall into place: blood pressure drops, glucose levels drop, and 'good' cholesterol levels rise.

If you're having trouble losing weight, speak with your doctor about what constitutes a healthy weight for your body and how to begin a balanced diet and exercise routine.

2. Check nutrition labels
Since salt, sugar, and fat intake are linked to heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol, eating a heart-healthy diet requires controlling your sodium, sugar, and fat intake. In general, packaged meals aren't as healthy as fresh foods, therefore reading food labels is essential to fully comprehending what you're eating.

Because low-fat and nonfat versions often have equal calorie levels but significantly more sugar, the full-fat version of a product is sometimes actually better for you. Other times, a product's calorie count may be smaller, but it has a lot more sodium.

3. Improve your sleep
Sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of heart disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and heart failure, as well as a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. Multiple pauses in breathing occur during sleep for those with sleep apnea, resulting in poor sleep quality and reduced oxygen flow to the blood. According to the American Heart Association, when this happens, the body releases stress hormones, which can increase the risk of heart disease over time.

Furthermore, sleep apnea has been linked to an increased risk of hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, and heart failure. Snoring loudly enough to wake people up, intermittent episodes of choking that wake you up many times per night, and severe daytime sleepiness or weariness are all signs of sleep apnea. If you think you might have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about having a sleep test done.

4. Consume more fiber
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), it’s recommended to consume a few meatless meals each week and increase the amount of fiber and whole grains in your diet. That’s due to the fact that most of the cholesterol-raising saturated fat in the American diet comes from animal meat and full-fat dairy products. The best sources of fiber include oatmeal, barley, quinoa, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and fruits.

Keep in mind that plant foods contain fiber, and animal foods do not. In contrast, animal foods contain cholesterol, and plant foods do not.

Author's Bio: 

I am Amelia Grant, a journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness, and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.

Our attention to ourselves, to our daily routine and habits, is very important. Things that may seem insignificant, are pieces of a big puzzle called life. I want to encourage people to be more attentive to their well-being, improve every little item of it and become healthier, happier, stronger. All of us deserve that. And I really hope that my work helps to make the world better.