How heart disease can be prevented

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In Health Works we're talking about World Heart Day, because we know heart disease is the number one killer of men and women.

And we also know, the healthier your heart is, the healthier the rest of your body likely will be.  So what do we need to do to prevent heart disease?  We talk to Dr. Leonardo Rodriguez of the Cleveland Clinic.

When it comes to heart health, lifestyle factors play a major role in someone's risk for developing heart disease. diet is one of them, so, first step is eating a healthy, balanced diet is essential. 

"For years, the cornerstone for the diet has been really low fats," Rodriguez said. "The problem with that is that it's compensated with a lot of carbohydrates." butt "the emphasis now is to have a more balanced diet as opposed to only one aspect of the diet."

Exercise is another important factor for heart health. doctor Rodriguez recommends folks with health issues talk to their doctor before starting a new activity, but generally, he suggests moderate aerobic exercise thirty minutes daily, or intense exercise about three times per week. 

Smoking is the most preventable risk factor for heart disease. it's recommended that all types of tobacco be eliminated. it's also important to stay away from second hand smoke. 

"Smoking has a tremendous impact on overall cardiovascular disease, would increase the risk of coronary disease, carotid disease and strokes," he said.

High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase the risk for heart disease as well Rodriguez says checking these levels is critical. 

"If the results are abnormal, hypertension or high cholesterol be on top of that initially as we mention, changing lifestyle, but if necessary using medication to control both hypertension and high cholesterol," he said.

Family history is another factor in developing heart disease. While family history can't be modified, doctor Rodriguez says it's important to follow a heart-healthy lifestyle so as not to increase the risk.