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updated: 2/6/2013 11:48 AM

Pump up your health during heart month

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David Hass

DUPAGE COUNTY--With February being "American Heart Month," the DuPage County Health Department reminds County residents that they should understand the risks of heart disease and stroke, as well as learn how they can protect themselves and their loved ones.

Most of us know someone who has had heart disease or stroke. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day.

Heart disease and stroke affect all of our lives, but we can all play a role in ending it. Protect yourself and your loved ones from heart disease and stroke by understanding the risks and taking these steps:

• Get up and get active by being physically active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

• Ask your doctor if you should take an aspirin every day.

• Find out if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, and if you do, get effective treatment.

• If you smoke, get help to quit.

• Make your calories count by eating a heart-healthy diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sodium and trans fat.

• Take control of your heart health by following your doctor's prescription instructions.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.