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Check out other videos from our Healthy Tips Video Series.

Calcium Scoring Heart Scans

If you have a family history of heart disease – high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, lack of activity, diabetes or obesity – or just want to assure all is well, consider a calcium scoring heart scan.

Published on February 06, 2023

Healthy Tips Video: Preventing and Managing Heart Disease

Hi, everyone. My name's Lexi Wright. I'm a registered dietitian nutritionist at the Owensboro Health Healthpark. February is National Heart Month, and in honor of that, our Healthy Tips video today is focused on preventing and managing heart disease. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Risk Factors of Heart Disease

Some common risk factors are physical inactivity, smoking, being at an unhealthy weight, uncontrolled blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels, and alcohol intake that's greater than the recommendation of two standard drinks per day for men and one standard drink per day for women.

Healthy Fats and Fiber Intake

Now, the good thing is that we can definitely work on preventing or managing heart disease with some diet and lifestyle changes. One of those changes is increasing our fiber intake. Fiber helps us manage our blood sugar and cholesterol levels, therefore, reducing our risk of heart disease. Some examples of high fiber foods are fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and whole grains like whole grain breads, crackers and noodles, brown rice, popcorn, and oatmeal.

Another thing we can work on is choosing healthy fats. Certain fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats increase our risk of heart disease. We get those fats from foods like fried foods, fast foods, high-fat cuts of meat, high-fat dairy products, highly processed meats like bacon or sausage, butter, shortening and coconut oil. Now, we want to choose fewer of those unhealthy fats and more healthy fat sources. We can get healthy fats from foods like fish and seafood, nuts and seeds, avocados, and certain cooking oils, such as olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, corn, and peanut oils.

Reducing Sodium Intake

Another thing we can work on is reducing our sodium intake. Some examples of high sodium foods are canned goods, boxed or frozen meals, fast food, and lots of sauces and condiments. Now, how you can tell if a food is high in sodium is by looking at the nutrition facts label. When you find the sodium line, you want to look at the percentage off to the right. You want that percentage to say 5% or less. That means that food is low in sodium. 20% or more would mean that food was high in sodium.

Recommended Weekly Activity

Now, the last thing that we're going to talk about today is staying physically active. It's recommended that we aim for about 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week, as well as two strength training days. Now, if you're new to physical activity, it can be helpful to try some different activities out to find something that you really enjoy. It's also helpful to find different ways to make activity more fun, such as by listening to music, finding a workout buddy, or maybe finding a fitness class to go to. The most important thing is that you start small and increase your activity level slowly.

Learn More

If you're interested in learning more about how you can prevent or manage heart disease, we at the Healthpark would love to help you. We have some great program options here for diet and lifestyle, including our LifeSteps weight management program and Exercise is Medicine. We also have a team of registered dietitians, diabetes education specialists, certified fitness coaches, and our lifestyle and sports medicine team who would love to help you. To learn more, give us a call at 270-688-4804, or visit

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital; Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center; the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 350 providers at more than 30 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a weight management program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have more than 19,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 33,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 150 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 90,000 Emergency Department visits and more than 1.25 million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.