5. Be a Quitter
Smoking is as hard on your heart as it is on your lungs. Smoking disrupts the function of the heart, damages blood vessels, and even affects blood cells. Cigarette smokers are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than nonsmokers. They're twice as likely to suffer a stroke. Quitting isn't easy. But tens of thousands of people do it every year.
Tip: Nicotine replacement aids such as patches may help some people. But new research shows they may not be as effective long-term as once thought. Talk to your doctor about the best quitting strategy for you.
6. Know Your Numbers
Three conditions dramatically raise your risk of heart disease and stroke: High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance (an early sign of diabetes). All three can be controlled. But first you have to know you have a problem. It's important to get periodic check-ups that include blood tests and a physical exam.