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Simply by following these five steps, starting today, you can turn your heart health around. The thing about heart disease is that even though it is the number one killer of women, it can be slowed or possibly even prevented with a healthy lifestyle. And if you are already at a high risk for developing heart disease, you have the power to turn that risk around.

The American Heart Association has helped to bring awareness about heart disease and heart health to women by designating February as national heart month and by associating the color red with heart awareness. This campaign aims to empower men and women to realize that they have the ability to avoid heart disease by making healthier choices in life.

If you feel empowered to save your own life, then follow these basic steps today for a healthier heart.

  • Don’t smoke. If you already smoke, quit. If you have never smoked, don’t start. Among its copious negative health effects, smoking is a direct cause of heart disease. In fact, women who smoke are anywhere from two to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-smoking women. And the risks don’t stop there. Do yourself a favor, read more about the risks associated with smoking here … and quit today.
  • Follow our guidelines for heart healthy eating. That means you should eat more whole grains, vegetables, beans, greens, fruits, fish, seeds and yogurts and avoid foods that are rich in fats, especially the bad fats found in fried foods and certain snack foods.
  • Get active. Making a commitment to include more physical activity and exercise in your life is an excellent way to get your heart in shape. According to the American Heart Association, you should aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity every day of the week.
  • Get your weight under control. By eating right and exercising regularly, you will be able to maintain a healthy weight. Keep an eye on your weight to help gauge your heart health, but remember that all body types are different. Obesity and overweight are key contributors to heart disease and death–both are preventable.
  • Know your numbers. Learn what your numbers mean, and then make sure you ask your physician to regularly check your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI and blood glucose. If your levels aren’t normal, you can set a goal and take the proper steps to change them.

Click below to read about related topics.

Introduction
A Healthy Heart
Cardiovascular Disease
Understanding the Risks
Interpreting the Numbers
Steps You Can Take Today
On the Road to a Healthy Heart