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Easy tips to protect your heart

Along with Valentine’s Day, each February we recognize American Heart Month – an important reminder that heart disease is still the deadliest disease in our country. Approximately every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack.

Luckily, this disease is easy to monitor. According to Dr. Lori Daniels, an American Heart Association volunteer and director of the Coronary Care Unit at UC San Diego’s Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, “A screening for heart disease can be something as simple as a finger stick that can then measure your blood cholesterol. At the same time, they can measure your blood pressure and do a quick questionnaire with you to see if you’re at risk for heart disease.”

Daniels says that people can avoid heart disease by living a healthy lifestyle and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol numbers in check.

To reduce your risk of heart disease, follow these tips from the American Heart Association:

  • Walk at least 20 minutes a day to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes and seeds
  • Don’t smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke
  • Know your family history of heart disease
  • Watch your weight and keep your blood sugar in check
  • Schedule regular wellness exams with your doctor
  • Learn stress management techniques
  • Know the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke

Read more from UC San Diego, and listen to an interview with Dr. Daniels.

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