Currently practiced measures to prevent cardiovascular disease include:
- A low-fat, high-fiber diet including whole grains and fruit and vegetables. Five portions a day reduce risk by about 25%.
- Tobacco cessation and avoidance of second-hand smoke
- Limit alcohol consumption to the recommended daily limits; consumption of 1–2 standard alcoholic drinks per day may reduce risk by 30%. However, excessive alcohol intake increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Lower blood pressures, if elevated
- Decrease body fat if overweight or obese
- Increase daily activity to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day at least five times per week (multiply by three if horizontal)
- Reduce sugar consumptions
- Decrease psychosocial stress. This measure may be complicated by imprecise definitions of what constitute psychosocial interventions. Mental stress–induced myocardial ischemiais associated with an increased risk of heart problems in those with previous heart disease. Severe emotional and physical stress leads to a form of heart dysfunction known asTakotsubo syndrome in some people. Stress, however, plays a relatively minor role in hypertension. Specific relaxation therapies are of unclear benefit.
For adults without a known diagnosis of hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, or cardiovascular disease, routine counseling to advise them to improve their diet and increase their physical activity has not been found to significantly alter behavior, and thus is not recommended. It is unclear whether or not dental care in those with periodontitis affects the risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise in those who are at high risk of heart disease has not been well studied as of 2014.