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Heart Healthy Tips for Heart Month

February is Heart Month, and heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, more than cancer or any other disease. Heart disease is a more complicated situation, as it is nearly untreatable.

“What we’re stuck with now is chronic disease,” said Daniel Harber, D.O., a cardiologist at MyMichigan Medical Center. “Chronic diseases like arthritis, cancer, heart disease. Heart disease is still the leading killer, because it is so prevalent, partially due to people living longer, and partially due to our lifestyle.”

There are multiple factors that come into play when it comes to heart disease, including lifestyle, lack of exercise, and those who smoke. Those things can lead to high blood pressure.

“I tell my patients, heart disease is like a tiger stalking you, and is waiting for you to drop your guard,” said Harber. “So other things you can do to besides knowing your blood pressure is to know what your cholesterol is.”

Some of the most common misconceptions about heart disease are that chest pain is directly linked to heart attacks, and that heart disease is uniformly fatal.

“Even though it does kill more Americans than any other disease, it is one of the most treatable diseases we have,” said Harber. “So we can take someone who’s on death’s door, and give them another 10–15 years of life.”

Monitoring your blood pressure, your good and bad cholesterol, and maintaining normal blood sugar are some of the ways you can reduce your risk of heart disease. If you feel like you are experiencing heart disease, contact your local healthcare provider.