Combine pounds of tempting treats, toss in the stress that comes with finding the perfect presents and mix in those increasingly chilling temperatures. What do you get? A risky recipe when it comes to your heart health. We’ve prepared a healthier roadmap to guide you this winter and help lower your risk for heart disease.

1)      Identify Your Risk

The American Heart Association sites the following uncontrollable risk factors:

  • Increasing age: People ages 65 and older make up 85 percent of those who die from coronary heart disease.
  • Gender: Men have a higher risk of having a heart attack and have heart attacks earlier in life compared to women.
  • Heredity: African Americans, Mexican Americans and American Indians have a higher risk of heart disease compared to Caucasians.  Family history of heart disease can also put you at a higher risk.

2)      Take Action

Dr. Geetha Pinto, cardiologist at Washington Adventist and Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Centers identifies the following controllable risk factors that you can modify based on changes in your lifestyle.

  • Blood Pressure and Cholesterol: Work with your doctor to manage high blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Diet and Exercise: Choose a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, vegetables and fruits. Participate in moderate to vigorous exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Smoking: By avoiding cigarettes and second-hand smoke you can cut your risk for heart disease in half.
  • Depression: If you are depressed, get treated with medications and counseling to lower your risk for coronary heart disease.

3)      Get Heart Smart in 2013!

Join us on Jan. 9 at Washington Adventist Hospital for Heart Smart: A FREE heart healthy cooking and screening event to start your New Year off right. Gain tips from the experts on how eating healthy can help reduce your risk for heart disease and learn how to make heart healthy dishes. Register today at!