How can I prevent small vessel disease?
The best way to prevent small vessel disease is by controlling your risk factors. This may include:
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Don't smoke. Nicotine raises your blood pressure because it causes your body to release adrenaline, which makes your blood vessels constrict and your heart beat faster. If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you make a plan to quit.
- Control your blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor can suggest ways to lower it. If you're taking medicine for high blood pressure, be sure to take it just the way your doctor tells you to.
- Improve your cholesterol levels. A healthy diet and exercise can lower your “bad” cholesterol levels and improve your “good” cholesterol levels. If that doesn’t help, your doctor may talk to you about medicines to help improve your levels.
- Exercise. Regular exercise can make your heart stronger and reduce your risk of heart disease. Exercise can also help if you have high blood pressure. Before you start, talk to your doctor about the right kind of exercise for you. Try to exercise at least 4 to 6 times a week for at least 30 minutes each time.
- Eat a healthy diet. Add foods to your diet that are low in cholesterol and saturated fats, because your body turns saturated fats into cholesterol.
- If you have diabetes, make sure that you keep your blood sugar under control.
See a list of resources used in the development of this information.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff