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Heart Health

Florida Department of Health in Marion County

Heart Health Education 

You do not have to make major changes to help improve your heart health. Here are a few simple and healthy habits that could save your life.


If you smoke or use tobacco products, consider quitting. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body including the heart and blood vessels. This damage increases the risk of Peripheral Artery Disease (P.A.D.) which causes plaque to build up in arteries. Persons with P.A.D. are at higher risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Although quitting tobacco isn’t the easiest habit to break, there are resources in our community that help you with this battle.  See the link below for local tobacco cessation assistance.

 Quit Your Way Smoking Cessation opportunities  


Regular physical activity is beneficial to our bodies. Did you know regular physical activity can help:

  • Improve blood sugar
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower bad cholesterol
  • Control body weight
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve brain function

Any activity is better than no activity.  Even light activity can help reduce the health risks of being sedentary.  

Read more:


Increase your consumption of these heart healthy foods:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole Grains
  • Lean Meats
  • Fish

Cut back on your consumption of these:

  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Bad fats

Read more:


You can’t manage what you don’t know, which is why it’s crucial to see your doctor to know your numbers.

Knowing your numbers means knowing your blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and weight. These numbers can help doctors assess the quality of your health and indicate the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and several cancers. 

Once you know your numbers, you can take steps to reduce heart disease risk using lifestyle changes like the ones discussed here.


To keep your heart healthy, it’s extremely important to manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose. Between doctor visits you can track your own blood pressure and glucose using blood pressure and glucose monitors which can be purchased at pharmacies and retail stores. 

Log the numbers into your phone or on a piece of paper to share with your health care provider. Last, but not least, follow your doctor’s treatment plan and take medications as prescribed. 

For more tips on how to manage these issues, see links below.