Why it’s important to recognize your risk for heart disease 

Feb 23, 2023, 5:15 PM | Updated: 6:26 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — February is National Heart Month and heart disease is the number one killer in the United States for both men and women. But there are some ways that you can change your lifestyle to help prevent it.

Dr. Elizabeth Joy, Senior Medical Director for wellness and nutrition at Intermountain Health said it’s important to recognize your risk for heart disease.

She said if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, or smoke, are overweight, not exercising, or have a family history of heart disease you are at risk. “We think of heart disease on some level of genetics hold the gun and the environment pulls the trigger,” she said. “By environment I mean our personal environment.”

Joy said to keep your heart healthy she recommends more sleep, exercise, and a better diet.

For 82-year-old Linda LeCheminant, eating right and exercising more has made all the difference to her health. She said that she changed her lifestyle about 25 years ago, after she had a stroke. “I was kind of concerned about my heart health at that point,” she said.

That’s when she started to see Dr. Elizabeth Joy. “Linda is a great example of someone who had a health incident and said what do I need to do to change, and she took it on with gusto,” Joy said.

Joy said LeCheminant is at high risk for heart disease and for another stroke, so she needed to make some changes to her lifestyle, like diet and exercise. “We say active at any age, active at any weight, active with any almost any condition, so move your way be active, it will have a huge impact on your life,” Joy said.

LeCheminant said it’s never too late to make a change. “I want to live awhile and be as healthy as possible,” she said. “You got to keep moving and tell yourself you can.”

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Why it’s important to recognize your risk for heart disease