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Heart disease can strike due to poor diet, lack of physical activity and more.

February is Heart Awareness Month, which now makes the perfect time to educate yourself about arguably one of the most important parts of the body, likely only competing with the brain for top rank. 

Without knowledge about our blood-circulating machine, we put ourselves at risk for mistreating our bodies and putting our health at risk and potentially leading ourselves to the possibility of a shorter life span and possibly even to expensive medical procedures down the line.

Heart disease and other cardiovascular issues do not arise in only older adults and can occur in any individual due to a variety of health factors. Our heart health is affected throughout our lives, and without proper treatment and care for the cardiovascular system, it is more likely that the onset of potential health struggles may occur faster than one might expect, and they are hard to reverse once the snowball effect of cardiovascular decline is set in motion. 

High rates of obesity and high blood pressure are climbing in the younger generations of America and other countries, and this puts them at risk for heart problems at earlier ages. Some serious threats to heart health include tobacco use, mainly smoking tobacco, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels. 

Obesity puts stress on the heart and can cause other health issues that may add strain to the cardiovascular system, such as diabetes and physical inactivity, which both increase the likelihood of a more rapid decline in heart health.

 Unhealthy eating patterns can lead to other unhealthy habits, which can start the aforementioned snowball rolling and exponentially increase your risk of heart issues at any age. 

Some ways to take the best care of your heart include getting regular exercise, which can be helped by finding a set schedule you stick to keep yourself disciplined and well-motivated. If regular exercise has proven itself to be a difficult goal for you, finding a workout buddy or a certain activity you enjoy will make working out less of a chore and more of an enjoyable experience for you as well as your workout companion.  

Hours of cardio are not required to keep your heart healthy, but some moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes per week will keep your heart healthy and happy. It may seem daunting to face 150 minutes head-on, but splitting that time into 30-minute blocks makes regular physical activity seem much more manageable and enjoyable. Regular exercise has also been proven to increase serotonin levels, which is known as the happy hormone. 

Getting regular check-ups with a physician, usually necessary only once a year, is the perfect way to stay updated on the condition of your cardiovascular system. Remaining aware of the status of your heart health is vital in order to keep an eye on any potential conditions you may need to address and manage with your health care professional.

The food you eat plays a large role in the condition of your cardiovascular system as well. Keeping a diet full of whole grains, veggies and healthy fats while limiting your intake of processed sugars and saturated fat is ideal.

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