The CDC says 200,000 deaths in the United States may be prevented by simple steps

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Two hundred thousand is a big number, but this is the amount of deaths that may be preventable in this country. Many heart disease and stroke deaths could be avoided through improvements in lifestyle behaviors, in the way we treat risk factors and by being proactive.

Being aware of your condition is key in taking control of your health, said Dr, Chippy Nalluri, M.D. of Heart Specialists of Sarasota "High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, tobacco use and control of weight so overweight and obesity." Are all contributing factors for cardiovascular disease. And if you are slim, don't think that you are not at risk.

"Its important to know that twenty percent of normal weight individuals are unhealthy and the reason is that these individuals have central obesity," Said Dr. Nalluri.

Although their BMI, or body mass index, may not be elevated, people holding weight in their mid-section are more prone to heart disease. Processed foods, and foods high in fructose contribute to this, and heart disease is the number one killer of minority women

"This particular population is at a significant risk for increased death due to cardiovascular disease," Said Dr. Nalluri, "Its important to know that all women their overall killer is heart disease"

It may not be such a simple fix, because for some, there are challenges. Expleined April Glasgo of Second Chance, Last Opportunity, a 501-C3 non for profit that operates in the Newtown neighborhood in Sarasota.

"Many live paycheck to paycheck, they buy fast food when going to the grocery store, and when they receive their public assistance food stamps they just go and purchase food and don't even think about the importance of what type of food to purchase." It all comes down to awareness she said.

She said the community used to be more involved in activities such as neighborhood walks and working out at the community center, but that it had tapered off. But, she is hopeful, and her establishment continues to be utilized by those looking to improve their lives. Second Chance offers health education free to those in need in the community to help them on their road to a better life.

But in the end it is up to you to be proactive. "How much are you willing to choose a better lifestyle, a healthy lifestyle to exercise more, to find the food that wont hurt you." She said.

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