Take care of your heart

Eat healthier foods. Cut down on alcohol. Stop smoking.

If you can change some habits like these, you can celebrate World Heart Day 2016 knowing you’ve done something significant to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

This is the emphasis of World Heart Day, which this year falls on Sept. 29. The day is part of a worldwide campaign to reduce deaths from non-communicable diseases, of which cardiovascular disease is the leading killer. It takes about 17.5 million lives a year.

Cardiovascular disease is any disease of the heart, blood vessel or vascular disease of the brain. Heart attacks and strokes are prominent examples of cardiovascular disease.

Health experts offer a variety of things you can do to protect your heart. You can:

  • Get active. Exercise 30 minutes a day.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Look for whole grains, lean meats, vegetables and foods low in saturated fats.
  • Keep your weight within a normal range.
  • Know your blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol numbers.

You can learn more about heart disease, including risk factors and statistics, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s heart disease page.