Your heart is the strongest muscle in your body. But it’s only as strong as the care you give it.
You can reduce your risk of heart disease by keeping your heart healthy and managing your blood pressure, cholesterol, and lifestyle. Learn about these factors and make a plan with your care team to build heart-healthy habits.
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure measures how your blood moves from your heart to the rest of your body. When your blood pressure is high, that means your blood is moving forcefully and pushing hard on the walls of your arteries.
It is normal to have your blood pressure go up and down. But when it stays high for a long period of time, the force of the blood on your arteries can cause damage. The damage from high blood pressure can lead to heart disease.
What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat in your blood. Your body needs this fat to make hormones and digest food. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, so it is best to avoid foods that have extra cholesterol and saturated fat (like some meats and cheeses).
When your body has extra cholesterol, that cholesterol starts to build up and harden your arteries. Hardened arteries become narrow and restrict the flow of blood. This can lead to heart disease.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can be passed down through your family. But no matter your family history, you can make changes in your everyday life to improve your heart health.
Make a plan with your doctor
We encourage you to work with your care team to make a heart-healthy plan that’s right for you. A thorough plan accounts for your schedule, lifestyle, culture, and family obligations, and can include:
- Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol
- Be active, getting 30 minutes of exercise a day
- Eat a healthy diet
- Learn what a healthy weight is for you
- Quit using tobacco
Ask your doctor how and when you should check your blood pressure and cholesterol. Talk with them about what your results mean and follow their instructions for managing your health.
How Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW) can help
As your health plan, CHPW wants you to feel your best every day. You may want to take advantage of the following resources:
- Health Risk Assessment (HRA). A health risk assessment looks at your whole health through a series of questions about your physical, mental, and emotional health. CHPW can give you an HRA over the phone.
- Quit for Life program. Ready to quit smoking? Get peer-to-peer support and personalized coaching at no cost to you.
- One-on-one counseling with a registered dietitian. CHPW’s health coaching team can help you with Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT).