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(BPT) - Few people understand just how much a threat cardiovascular disease (CVD), or heart disease, can be. Consider this: heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. Cardiovascular disease claims more lives each year than cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease and accidents combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 71 million American adults (33.5 percent)-have high LDL, or "bad," cholesterol and only one out of every three adults with high LDL cholesterol has the condition under control.
While heart disease is truly dangerous, in many instances the disease is preventable. You may have heard concerns over high cholesterol levels. Elevated cholesterol is among the leading risk factors for CVD. Living a healthy lifestyle that incorporates good nutrition, weight management and getting plenty of physical activity can play an important role in lowering your risk of CVD, according to the American Heart Association.
If you're interested in reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, these tips can help.
* Move your body. Exercise not only reduces your bad cholesterol levels, it can also increase your HDL, or good cholesterol, levels. The exercise need not be strenuous to enjoy the benefit either. Get a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day. A 45-minute walk can help you reach your goal.
* Cut the saturated fats. Saturated fats have long been linked to high cholesterol levels. As you prepare your next meal, use canola oil or olive oil instead of vegetable oil, butter, shortening or lard.
* Opt for fish. You don't have to become a vegetarian to achieve a healthy cholesterol level; you just have to make smarter meat selections. Fish and fish oil are loaded with cholesterol-lowering omega-3 acids. The American Heart Association recommends fish as your source for omega-3s and eating fish two or three times a week is a great way to lower your cholesterol.
* Avoid smoking. Smoking has been linked to many health concerns and research shows that smoking has a negative impact on good cholesterol levels and is also a risk factor for heart disease.
Heart disease accounts for one in three deaths in the United States and many cases of the disease are preventable through healthy choices.
There is a clinical research study being conducted to try to help with this disease. The Fourier Study, sponsored by Amgen, is a clinical research study to find out if an investigational medication may reduce the risk of future heart attacks, strokes, related cardiovascular events and death in individuals with a prior history of heart disease. The study is investigating a different approach to reducing LDL cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol.