7 Things to know: Ways To Love Your Heart

7 Things to Know

February 4, 2013 2:39:31 PM PST
February is American Heart Month and the perfect time to start thinking about how to make sure you're heart healthy, especially since heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States.

Staying heart healthy is a life-long commitment. It may not be easy to stay on track, but it could help you live longer.

1. Know your family history.
Genetics play a big role in heart disease.

"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. So, if you look at your family history and you have first degree relatives say Mom or Dad, brothers or sisters who have clocked in with a hard heart event or a diagnosis of coronary artery disease before the age of 55, you have to take your heart history very seriously," Dr. Curtis Rimmerman, Cleveland Clinic, said.

2. Eat healthy.
Your diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables. And watch your saturated fat and sodium intake.

3. Stop smoking.
Smoking can increase your risk for heart disease.

4. Exercise
Get up and get moving. Try to do at least 30-minutes of daily exercise that gets your heart rate up. You may even want to get a fitness app to help you reach your goals.

"You can kind of work it into your lifestyle and kind of put it on the same level of importance of taking a shower, brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom, eating, going to work, whatever you do, it should be one of those core activities that you do on a daily basis," Rimmerman said.

5. Get enough shut eye.
Sleep deprived stresses the heart and can lead to heart disease.

6. Take care of your teeth.
People with periodontal disease, which affects teeth and gums are about twice as likely to have heart disease.

7. See your doctor regularly.
Many people don't even know they have heart disease until they have a heart attack? A routine physical includes blood pressure check, and testing of your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Additional test can also be done if your doctor suspects you have heart disease.

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