Eye on Health: Heart disease

February is heart health month because heart disease is the number-one killer for both men and women in the U.S., but it's also one of the most preventable.

In tonight's Eye on Health, we're focusing on what you can do to stay healthy.

This is one of those things where knowing your numbers truly counts. A million people die every year from heart disease, but screening for it and knowing your numbers can help change that.

"Go to your family doctor, get your physical, get your blood pressure checked, get your cholesterol checked," said nurse practitioner Nickie Ralston.

Ralston specializes in cardiology at the Goshen Heart and Vascular Center. Baseline numbers are easy to get and tell a lot about your health.

"As women, we tend to put ourselves last. We tend to take care of our husband and our children, and we don't always think about ourselves," said Ralston.

Ralston said we should also know our risk factors.

"We can't always do anything about our genetics, but we can try to reduce our risk factors as much as we can," she said.

And you can do that by making healthy choices, eating good foods, exercising and not smoking.

"Actually tobacco is one of the biggest risk factors. You can have someone who has very little family history, they might be a little overweight, but if they smoke a couple packs a day they can still have some pretty significant coronary disease," Ralston said. "So if you know some of your risk factors and you smoke, you need to quit."

It's prevention for a better life.

"I think it's important to be there for your family to watch your children grow up, to watch your grandchildren grow up," Ralston said. "And it's good to be happy and if you're a little more healthy, and you can stay active you can live a very nice full long life."

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