Health tips for American Heart Month

[anvplayer video=”5160609″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — February is all about your heart but not because of Valentine’s Day. It’s American Heart Month, which is aimed at spreading awareness about heart disease and getting regular check-ups.

Doctors say you should be looking after your heart every day of the year. You should also look at what risk factors may be impacting you specifically and when you should see your doctor.

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. It’s often referred to as the silent killer as symptoms often go unnoticed. Risk factors, however, are easier to identify.

“We call them the simple seven – so that’s blood glucose – which is your sugars – high blood pressure – hypertension. Diabetes is the high sugars, then there’s also cholesterol that is also associated with heart disease and then things like exercise, smoking and diet,” said Robert Taylor, the lead cardiologist at Optum New Mexico.

If you have a family history of diabetes, cholesterol or even heart disease, you’re at a higher risk. If you are, you’re encouraged to get screened to make sure you’re in the clear.

With those “:simple seven” in mind, it’s also recommended you focus on your lifestyle to prevent the worst from happening.

“A lot of those, the first step is exercise and then there are dietary concerns, so you want to keep the weight down but you want to keep the weight down by having a healthy diet,” Dr. Taylor said.

Drinking too much alcohol and smoking can also be big risk factors for heart disease. It’s also important to note that risk does go up with age but it can affect anyone at any age.

For more information, click here to go to the American Heart Association website.