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Don’t break your heart! Tips on preventing heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One person dies of heart disease every 36 seconds, equaling about 655,000 deaths per year in America. Here are some tips on preventing heart disease.

Eat better

Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Eat foods high in fiber such as beans, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Avoid foods with saturated and trans fat such as butter, coconut oil, sausage, bacon, cheese, ice cream, cakes, biscuits and whole milk. Men should have no more than 30g per day of saturated fat and women should have no more than 20g per day.

Limit salt intake. The average amount of salt (sodium) that a person should consume in one day is 2300mg. That is about one teaspoon of salt per day.

Start paying attention to nutrition labels, especially sodium and trans fat.

Limit alcohol

Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke. Limit alcoholic beverages to one drink daily for women and two drinks daily for men.

Exercise regularly

Adults need two and a half hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Examples of this type of exercise include brisk walking or bicycling.

No smoking

Smoking is a major cause of heart disease. It thickens your blood, raises triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood), increases the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels and thickens/narrows your blood vessels.

Maintain a healthy weight

Carrying extra weight on your body puts extra stress on your heart and blood vessels. Being overweight leads to high blood pressure and diabetes, which are major factors in heart disease.

See your primary care provider yearly

Make an annual appointment with your provider in order to recognize risk factors and learn ways to reduce your risk of heart disease. Catching risk factors early is important to reduce heart disease.


Information provided by Lisa Trawick, APRN, FNP. We are accepting new patients at UT Health East Texas Physicians in Rusk and would love to help you with your healthcare needs. To schedule an appointment, call 903-383-3600 or visit


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