Houston Health Department

Take care of your heart: HHD recommends healthier lifestyles, blood pressure checks to lower heart disease risks


Feb. 14, 2019

HOUSTON — The Houston Health Department (HHD) urges Houstonians to adopt healthier lifestyles and check their blood pressure to help them prevent heart disease.

Heart disease, which includes coronary artery disease and stroke, remains the principal cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February is American Heart Month.

“Prevention is key when it comes to heart disease,” said Dr. David Persse, Houston’s local health authority and EMS director. “Healthy changes go a long way in lowering the risks of developing heart disease.”

Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people already diagnosed with heart disease. To lower heart disease risks, people can:

  • Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of various chronic diseases. Adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating foods low in saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt (sodium) intake also can lower blood pressure.
  • Quit smoking or the use other forms of tobacco. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and deteriorates the health of smokers in general. Quitting tobacco products lowers the risk of smoking-related diseases such as cancer, lung disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and can add years of life.
  • Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise blood pressure. Moderate drinking is no more than one drink per day for women and two for men.
  • Watch your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight provides many overall health benefits and helps prevent and control many diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure and stroke. People can consult a doctor about their weight and where it ranks in the Body Mass Index (BMI).

For heart disease education and resources offered by HHD health centers and multi-service centers, call 832-393-5427. People still need to consult their doctor about ways to prevent heart disease.

The City of Houston’s 311 information line can help people find the health center or multi-service center nearest to them. They can also go online to HoustonHealth.org.

The American Heart Association offers online information about heart disease prevention at Heart.org.