February is heart health awareness month and Dr. Devine said there are many steps people can take to eliminate the risk of heart disease. At the top of his list is quit smoking. He also said people should work on reducing their blood pressure and avoiding hypertension. In addition, he said people should stay active, maintain a healthy weight, avoid or control diabetes, consider a drink each day, and consider a low-dose aspirin.
Steps for taking charge of your health include making an appointment with your doctor to have your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels checked. Dr. Devine also said watch your salt intake and avoid fad diets.
If you're experiencing chest discomfort in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back, that could be a sign of heart trouble. Dr. Devine said discomfort in other areas of the upper body - one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach - could also be signs of problems. At that point you should consult a physician or seek immediate assistance.