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February is American Heart Month and marks the annual recognition of the “Go Red for Women” campaign by the American Heart Association. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in America, but even the smallest child and strongest of athletes can be impacted by it, no matter what their gender. Below are a few tips for how you can reduce your risk for heart disease:

Control high blood pressure—know your numbers and talk to your doctor. This condition can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Quit smoking. If you smoke, your risk of developing coronary heart disease is two to four times that of nonsmokers. Smoking is also a major preventable cause of stroke and the Department of Public Health offers free smoking cessation to help you quit, call 216-664-STEP (7837) for details.

Reduce your cholesterol—talk to your doctor about how. The higher your total blood cholesterol, the greater your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Start moving. Lack of physical activity increases your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Achieve a healthy weight. If you have excess body fat — especially at the waist — you’re more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.

Prevent diabetes by eating healthy, exercising and getting blood sugar screenings. Having diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, especially if your blood sugar is not controlled.

There are other risk factors to be aware of — talk to your doctor about how your age, race and heredity may affect your risk for heart disease.

For more information, please join the Cleveland Department of Public Health, Steps to a Healthier Cleveland and the American Heart Association on Thursday, February 14, 2008 in the Cleveland City Hall Rotunda for a special Go Red for Women celebration. For details, visit or call 216-664-STEP (7837).

Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. is a Steps to a Healthier Cleveland “Community on the Move”. . .

Steps to a Healthier Cleveland is a city-wide program designed to engage all Clevelanders to live longer, better and healthier lives. The Steps to a Healthier Cleveland program encourages physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco-free choices. These efforts are intended to reduce the burden of diabetes, overweight/obesity and asthma in all of Cleveland’s diverse neighborhoods. Learn more at

This publication is supported by the Steps to a HealthierUS Cooperative Agreement program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Its contents do not necessarily represent the official view of HHS.

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