Almost everyone with the typical American lifestyle develops some degree of atherosclerotic
cardiovascular disease over time. But a healthy lifestyle can postpone
cardiovascular illnesses and death by decades. It is important to develop healthy
lifestyle habits in childhood and avoid a lifetime of eating an unhealthy diet with
large amounts of added sugar, trans and saturated fat, and highly processed foods,
control blood pressure, maintain a high level of physical activity, and avoid overweight
CVD is largely preventable by putting into place the Building Blocks of Health
by following the Lifestyle Checklist that addresses diet and lifestyle factors that
account for over 90% of the risk of a heart attack:
• Smoking and vaping: Don’t start or quit if you are a smoker.
• Blood cholesterol: Know your LDL-C and control LDL-C through optimal
nutrition and use of statins and other drugs if needed. Aim for 70 mg/dl or
• Hypertension: Know your blood pressure, avoid hypertension by limiting
dietary sodium to 2,300 mg/day, and use of antihypertensive medicines if
needed—lower is better. Aim for 120/80 mm Hg or at least below 140/90
• Diabetes: Limit dietary sugar and avoid overweight and obesity.
• Overweight and obesity: Maintain a normal weight.
• Diet: Eat a whole food plant-based Mediterranean or ultra-low fat Ornish style
• Physical activity: Meet the recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate
intensity physical activity; in general, the more, the better.
• Alcohol consumption: Avoid entirely or at least have no more than one drink
a day for both women and men.
• Psychosocial factors: Manage stress.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel