Self Care Make these changes today: Add more physical activity to your day, add more fruits and veggies to your diet, and throw out those cigarettes. Risk Factors Risk factors such as age or family history can't be changed, but other risk factors are under your control. Smoking Cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco are all bad for you. So is secondhand smoke. Blood Pressure Blood pressure that's higher than normal puts stress on your heart. Work with your doctor to bring your blood pressure down. Diet and Nutrition What you eat—or don't eat—can make a difference in your health. A nutritious diet can help prevent heart disease, as well as other problems. High Blood Cholesterol High levels of cholesterol put you at risk for heart disease. Fortunately, diet and medication are effective treatments. Overweight and Obesity Heart disease is just one health problem associated with extra weight. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoarthritis are others. Physical Inactivity For optimum health, you should try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity three to four days a week. Stress High levels of cortisol from chronic stress can increase blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure—all factors linked to heart disease. Other Factors Did you know air pollution can affect your heart health? Here's a look at other factors involved in heart disease.