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Improving heart health need not be difficult

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, ischaemic heart disease, in which blood supply to the heart is reduced, is the leading cause of death in middle- and high-income countries and the fourth-leading cause of death in low-income countries.

Perhaps the most troubling fact about the prevalence of heart disease is that it can be largely preventable. The American Heart Association notes that there are several ways to easily improve heart health and avoid becoming one of the millions of people to succumb to heart disease.

* Embrace aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is essential to cardiovascular health. Daily aerobic exercise, which can be as simple as walking around the neighborhood, can help men and women lower their blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight and lower their bad cholesterol, which can circulate in the blood and cause blockages that can lead to heart attack.

* Adopt a low-sodium diet that's also low in cholesterol. Diet can be a friend or foe with regards to heart disease. A heart-friendly diet that's low in sodium and cholesterol can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels as well as a healthy blood pressure.

* Monitor your blood pressure. A blood pressure reading is a staple of many doctor visits, but men and women should monitor their blood pressure even when they aren't visiting their physicians. High blood pressure does not always produce symptoms, but that doesn't mean it isn't potentially deadly. High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and can contribute to heart and kidney disease. So be sure to monitor your blood pressure and discuss with your physician ways to lower high blood pressure.