A perfect present this Valentine’s Day is the gift of heart health. Along with Valentine’s Day, February marks American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. One in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.

Every year, Americans suffer more than 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes. Nearly 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women have some form of cardiovascular disease that includes heart disease and stroke.

The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.

You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors are also important for people who already have heart disease.

To lower your risk:

1. Watch your weight.

2. Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.

3. Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.

4. If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.

5. Get active and eat healthy.

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