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Since 1963, February has been celebrated as American Heart Month to urge Americans to join the battle against heart disease. Since 2004, February also has been the signature month for the American Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women” campaign and the message that heart disease is not only a man’s problem.

Heart disease kills an estimated 630,000 Americans each year. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. In the United States, the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to a heart attack. You can greatly reduce your risk for CAD through lifestyle changes, and in some cases, medication.

We know that family history is a big risk factor you can’t avoid, but there are other risk factors that you can manage like poor diet, cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking, obesity and blood sugar, and stress. If you get these under control, you’ll improve your heart health!

Regardless of where you’re at in terms of heart health, you can begin making improvements by implementing lifestyle changes that will protect your heart going forward.  Simple steps like these can make a big impact on your heart and overall health.