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Health Beat: Healthy heart tips

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Every year, 600,000 Americans die of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

"Untreated heart failure leads to patients feeling progressively more and more tired, short of breath with activity, ultimately short of breath at rest, laying in bed, unable to sleep, and it is a fatal condition," said Dr. Sitaramesh Emani, of Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center.

But, there are ways to prevent this killer. First: exercise. In the largest study to date, researchers found that men and women with the highest aerobic fitness levels cut their chances of heart disease by half, even if they had genetic markers for the condition.

In another recent study, scientists at Ohio State found vitamin D-3, which is made by the body when you're exposed to the sun, can restore damage caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, and clogged arteries. It also reduces the risk of heart attack.

Another heart healthy habit: Stop smoking. After just one year of quitting, your excess risk of heart disease is reduced by 80 percent.

Lastly: Chronic stress releases adrenaline, causing your heart rate and blood pressure to rise, which could damage artery walls. So, relax and take a deep breath. It could mean a healthier you.

Drinking too much alcohol also increases your risk of developing several diseases, including heart problems, but a moderate amount of alcohol may actually protect your heart. Men should consume no more than two drinks per day. For women, it's no more than one drink a day. Experts don't recommend that non-drinkers start drinking or that drinkers increase the amount of alcohol they consume.



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