SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -February is American heart month.
Every 37 seconds someone dies from heart disease and it's the number one killer for both men and women.
Some risk factors for developing heart disease include high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and poor lifestyle habits. Although genetics play a role in the disease, Dr. Chippy Nalluri, who is a Staff Cardiologist at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, said people have the ability to change that predisposition. She recommends people exercise more and eat healthier.
"Get rid of processed foods. Get rid of high salty, high fatty foods. And then, start to shift from an animal, protein based diet towards a plant based diet. And just start to shift and make that shift slowly," said Dr. Nalluri.
Stress also causes inflammation and leads to bad habits. She said lifestyle changes can also help prevent heart disease.
"Are you living an authentic life? Do you go home and are you not involved in any social connections. Is there loneliness? If you are in a relationship, is that relationship something that empowers you. Do you harbor hostility, do you harbor resentment. These are actually these non-traditional risk factors that we are now starting to understand plays a huge role in heart disease," Dr. Nalluri said.
She recommends people add mindfulness and meditation into their daily routine, even if it’s only for five minutes a day.