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Exercise, eat healthy, take your meds and prevent heart disease

One in every four deaths or 610,000 fatalities annually is the result of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Combating this deadly foe is best accomplished with stronger preventive measures, says a University of Cincinnati College of Medicine physician-educator.

Umara Raza, MD, an assistant professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Health Disease, says awareness of the dangers of heart disease remains a problem, it’s the leading cause of death for men and women, but not everyone recognizes the danger.

“With such a huge risk, one should be taking possible steps to prevent that problem from happening,” says Raza, a UC Health cardiologist, who sees patients primarily at West Chester Hospital but also at University of Cincinnati (UC) Medical Center. “I think the biggest thing we need to know is the risk factors for heart disease.”

Raza, also a member of the UC Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute, offers advice as the nation recognizes February as American Heart Month. She is a supporter of the Go Red for Women Initiative to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease among women.

The risk factors for heart disease include “all the things we know are bad for us” such as:

  • Smoking
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity/Being Overweight
  • Inactivity

And one more risk factor, says Raza: aging.

“We all want to live longer, but as we age, we have to be even more proactive in focusing on our health and having positive things in our daily lives, for example exercising, eating healthy, and if we do have a health problem, taking care of that by taking medications as directed,” explains Raza.

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Photos by Colleen Kelley/AHC