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PUBLISHED: 11:39 AM on Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Steps to Help Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
(NUI) - According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is responsible for almost 1 million deaths annually in the United States, half of which are women. The good news is that many of the risk factors that lead to heart disease - obesity, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle, to name just a few - can be remedied.

"Simple changes such as watching what you eat and exercising are two powerful steps in helping to reduce your risk of heart disease," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at New York's Beth Israel Medical Center.

Here are some simple tips to help reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

• Add heart-smart foods. Living a heart-healthy lifestyle does not mean giving up delicious foods. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are heart-healthy winners.

• Get a move on. Physical activity is essential for a healthy heart. Start small. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, squeeze in a 15-minute walk during your day or park your car in the farthest parking spot at the grocery store.

• Weigh your options. Being overweight puts your heart at risk. If you are overweight, losing as little as 5 percent to 10 percent of your current weight can help reduce your risk for heart disease. Healthy eating and physical activity can help you reach your healthy weight goals.

• Know your numbers. Learn about your own risks for heart disease. Keep tabs on your health and pay attention to any abnormal signs and symptoms. Visit your health care professional and have your cholesterol checked regularly.


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