Jumpstart Your Heart Action Plan

The heart is perhaps the body’s most beautiful muscle. Roughly the size of a clenched fist, this amazing machine beats approximately 100,000 times in a day and about 35 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times. This powerful pump circulates oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to every cell in the human body. Have a heart and take good care of your ticker. Follow these heart-healthy steps to live better and longer.

Your Heart Numbers

The first step to taking care of your heart is to know key numbers. Keep up with annual physicals so your doctor can run the most critical screenings for heart disease. These include measuring:

\r\n\r\n• Weight and BMI (body mass index)
\r\n• Waist circumference
\r\n• Blood pressure
\r\n• Cholesterol
\r\n• Fasting blood sugar\r\n

\r\nBy knowing the results, your doctor can prescribe specific lifestyle changes, or in some cases, certain medications, to help manage any risk factors. If you smoke, ask your doctor to recommend a smoking cessation plan. Smoking is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries – which can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

\r\nIf you are not due for a physical, you still can learn and manage some of these numbers on your own. Certain pharmacies offer blood pressure screenings and blood glucose tests. Check your weight by stepping on a scale and determine your BMI with Dr. Oz's online calculator. Dr. Oz's online calculator.

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