High cholesterol, high blood pressure and being overweight or obese are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. You should be tested regularly to know if you have high blood cholesterol or high blood pressure. That’s because elevated cholesterol and blood pressure have no warning signs. You should also talk to your doctor about a healthy weight for you.
You can manage your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight with the tracker below. Work with your healthcare provider to set your “goal” levels. Then ask how often to check your levels. Record your levels and the date they were taken to track your progress.
Have your cholesterol levels checked every five years, or more often if needed. A lipoprotein profile is the best measurement.
|Blood Pressure (mm Hg)|
|Total Cholesterol (mg/dL)|
|LDL Cholesterol (mg/dL)|
|HDL Cholesterol (mg/dL)|
What can I do to lower my cholesterol and blood pressure?
- If your cholesterol is borderline high or high, limit your cholesterol intake to <200 mg per day.
- Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables and fat-free and lowfat dairy products.
- Eat oily fish, such as salmon, twice per week.
- Choose lean cuts of meat, trim all visible fat and throw away the fat that cooks out of the meat.
- Remove the skin from poultry.
- Substitute meatless or “low-meat” main dishes for regular entrees.
- Use a minimal amount of fats and oils, usually no more than two to three servings a day depending on your caloric needs.
- Reduce your sodium to 1500mg per day or less. Limit your intake of processed, packaged and fast foods which tend to be high in sodium.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. If you’re a woman, don’t have more than one drink a day. If you’re a man, have no more than two drinks a day.
- Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking.
- Take your medicines as prescribed the way your doctor tells you.
- Avoid the use of and exposure to tobacco products.
How can I manage my weight?
Even modest weight loss (5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight) can help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. Check with your doctor before starting a program.
- Reduce the number of calories you eat. Excess calories add excess weight.
- Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity a week. To lose weight, some people need to do 300 or more minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.
How can I learn more?
- Talk to your doctor, nurse or other healthcare professionals. If you have heart disease or have had a stroke, members of your family also may be at higher risk. It’s very important for them to make changes now to lower their risk.
- Call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-242-8721), or visit heart.org to learn more about heart disease.
- For information on stroke, call 1-888-4-STROKE (1-888-478-7653) or visit us online at StrokeAssociation.org.
We have many other fact sheets and educational booklets to help you make healthier choices to reduce your risk, manage disease or care for a loved one. Visit heart.org/answersbyheart to learn more.
Knowledge is power, so Learn and Live!
Do you have questions or comments for the doctor or nurse?
Take a few minutes to write your questions for the next time you see your healthcare provider.
What kind of physical activity would be good for me?
How can I know what my weight should be?
©2012, American Heart Association