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Three Heart-Healthy Makeovers

Can you really improve your heart health and reduce your risk for cardiac disease?
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A Young Father Is Surprised by Heart Disease continued...

"One of the things I've talked about with my doctor is my age," says Haverly. "We both think the best thing is that we've caught this at a young age, and I have a lot of time to do something about it. It's a big plus in my corner."

Heart-healthy goals

While Haverly's on the right path to heart health, there's even more he can do. Kathleen Zelman, director of nutrition for WebMD, offers these tips:

Drink moderately. Limiting alcohol to two drinks a day for men (one for women) can help increase his HDL or "good cholesterol."

Halt the salt. Haverly should watch his sodium intake to help control blood pressure. Many people think sodium comes from table salt, but most of us get it from processed foods, canned soups, lunch meat, and more.

Watch your weight. Haverly's on the right track, and he should keep up the good work -- losing as little as 5% to 10% of your body weight can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Control the portions. It's the secret to weight loss success. He should limit high-calorie foods and be liberal with vegetables that fill him up but won't fill him out.

A Graduate Student Takes Action Against Heart Disease

Vernita Morgan, 40, is an aspiring PhD candidate at the University of Iowa, studying for a degree in education measurement and statistics. When she "grows up," she wants to help people better understand the issues around obesity, which can raise LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, lower HDL "good" cholesterol numbers, increase a person's blood pressure levels, and in some cases lead to diabetes. In people who are obese, heart disease is a major threat.

For Morgan, heart disease is something that hits close to home: Three of her four grandparents died of either heart attacks or strokes, and her father has struggled with high blood pressure throughout his lifetime.

Only a few years ago, Morgan herself had a brush with heart disease and struggled with her weight. She knew she had to turn her own health around if she was going to live long enough to help others improve their health.

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