Jefferson University Hospitals

Heart Disease Prevention

About every 40 seconds, an American will have a heart attack.

Risk factors are conditions or habits that raise your chance of getting heart disease and/or increase the chance that your existing heart disease may not be improving.

Fortunately, many forms of heart disease are preventable. Although some risk factors cannot be changed – like gender, age, and family history – other can be mitigated by changes to your lifestyle. Make an appointment with your doctor to know your risk factors.  

7 Ways to Control Your Risk

High blood pressure, high LDL "bad" cholesterol and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. Learn the facts and consider addressing these and other risk factors:


Did you know that smokers have an increased risk of heart attack compared to people who don't smoke? People exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk as well. Take measures to quit, such as joining our smoking cessation program, JeffQuit

JeffQuit combines three sessions, stop-smoking aids, hypnosis, and individual support and coaching to maximize your success of quitting smoking.

High Blood Pressure

Nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure and are unaware of it, according to the American Heart Association. A healthy blood pressure is less than 120 for the top number (systolic blood pressure) and less than 80 for the bottom number (diastolic blood pressure). Take the time to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Try going for a power walk. Load up o potassium-rich sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and bananas. Drink decaf. Listen to your favorite music, relax, and become more mindful with our experts at the The Myrna Brind Center for Mindfulness.

Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels

Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver and found in certain foods. As your cholesterol levels increase, so does your risk of heart disease.

To improve your cholesterol and triglyceride (an unhealthy type of fat in your blood) levels, eat fish high in omega-3s, three or more times per week. Eat fiber-rich foods like oatmeal, beans, and apples. Limit your portion sizes of red meat to three to four-ounce servings. Also, decrease and/or avoid alcohol.


Diabetes can contribute to significant heart damage, including heart attacks. However, you can control diabetes by eating healthy foods, keeping off excess weight, exercising, and taking prescribed medications.

Make an appointment with Jefferson's Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases for diabetes, education, nutrition counseling, and more. 

If you're already being treated for diabetes, consider attending one of our community health events or support groups


Excess weight puts significant stress on your heart and magnifies several other heart disease risk factors. But if you eat right, set aside time to stay active, you can reduce your risk of heart disease significantly.

Learn about our Comprehensive Weight Management Center to see how you can make positive steps towards a healthier you.

Physical Activity

A lack of physical activity may lead to a greater chance of heart disease compared to people who participate in mild to moderate physical activity. New American Heart Association guidelines recommend at least 60 minutes of exercise every day.

Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories, such as raking leaves, climbing stairs, walking or playing sports.

Eating Habits

It’s tough to make the right food choices every day, but the benefits can pay off. A heart healthy diet should be low in:

  • Salt
  • Saturated & Trans Fats
  • Cholesterol
  • Refined Sugars

Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and other essential nutrients. But how much should you eat on a daily basis? Check out our Comprehensive Weight Management Center, call 1-800-JEFF-NOW, or schedule an appointment online with one of our nutrition experts. 

Make an Appointment with a Cardiologist

Want to know your risk factors for heart disease or get a routine screening? Call 1-800-JEFF-NOW (1-800-533-3669) to make an appointment or schedule online below.