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More than 600,000 people die of heart disease every year in the United States. That’s approximately 1 in 4 deaths. It is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women. The most common type of the disease is coronary heart disease. Every year almost 800,000 Americans have a heart attack.

What are some of the risks for heart disease?

  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Poor diet and food choices.
  • Leading a physically inactive life.
  • Excessive alcohol use.
  • Diabetes.
  • Men over 45 and women over 55 have a greater risk.
  • Your race or ethnicity. African Americans are more likely than whites to have heart disease and Hispanic Americans are less likely to have the disease.
  • Your family history. If you have close relatives who had heart disease at a young age you are more likely to have the disease also.

There are ways to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Keep an eye on your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing heart disease. Have it checked regularly and if it’s high, take the necessary steps to lower it. High cholesterol can also be a risk factor. Dietary and lifestyle changes can help to lower your cholesterol levels. Keep your weight under control. Unnecessary body weight is hard on your heart. Watch your diet and exercise more. Try to cut out the alcoholic drinks. They add extra calories and raise your blood pressure.

February is American Heart Month. Encourage your family to stay heart healthy. Cut down on your use of salt and try various herbs to season your meals. Speak with the school administrators in your municipality and ask that they incorporate more physical activity into their student’s days. Eating well and staying physically active is a habit that can be started at a young age. To read more on this topic or find services near you, click here.