Top 5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Heart Health From Intermountain Health

Industry: Healthcare

Dr. Kent Meredith is an interventional cardiologist for Intermountain Health who helps lead the heart attack treatment program at Intermountain Medical Center.

Salt Lake City, UT (PRUnderground) February 2nd, 2024

American Heart Month is a time when people can focus on their heart health and during February, experts from the Intermountain Health Heart and Vascular Program are working to educate Utahns about ways to enhance their heart health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease – and about 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

The good news is there’s a lot of things people can do to protect their heart, including quitting smoking and maintaining an active lifestyle. Heart health is important for EVERYONE, regardless of demographics.

A key message from heart experts at Intermountain Health: It’s vital that people be an active participant in their own health and well-being. To help people reduce their risk of heart disease, heart experts from the Intermountain Health Heart and Vascular Program want people to know what they can do to improve their heart health. Starting with knowing your risk by taking the Intermountain .

Here are the top five things to do today to improve your heart health and reduce your risk of heart problems, from Kent Meredith, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Intermountain Health, who helps lead the heart attack treatment program at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.

• #1: Exercise Daily

Dr. Meredith recommends that you spend at least 30 minutes per day exercising. “Ideally, this is uninterrupted and involves large muscle groups:  walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, treadmill,” said Dr. Meredith. “This will pay huge dividends 10 and 20 years from now, allowing you to enjoy retirement.”

• #2: Maintain a Healthy Weight

Dr. Meredith suggests you set a realistic goal, and work towards a healthy weight. Being overweight raises your risk for heart disease and is linked to other serious conditions, like diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight can benefit your health in general and goes a long way to lowering your risk for heart disease.

“Small incremental changes may be more achievable, associated with higher chance of success,” said Dr. Meredith.

• #3: Know Your Risk by Getting a Coronary CT-Scan to Determine Your Coronary Artery Calcium Score

“Calculate your cardiovascular disease risk, and if you’re over 40, consider getting a coronary CT-scan to that you know your coronary artery calcium score. This allows early detection of ‘silent’ heart disease before you develop symptoms,” said Dr. Meredith.

• #4: Know Your Numbers. 

Get an annual checkup with blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose measurements.

– Keeping your blood pressure within acceptable ranges can keep you healthier longer. Levels less than 120/80 mm Hg are optimal. High blood pressure is defined as 130-139 mm Hg systolic pressure (the top number in a reading) or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic pressure (bottom number).

– Control your cholesterol: High levels of non-HDL, or “bad,” cholesterol can lead to heart disease. Your health care professional can consider non-HDL cholesterol as the preferred number to monitor, rather than total cholesterol, because it can be measured without fasting beforehand and is reliably calculated among all people.

– Manage your blood sugar: Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use as energy. Over time, high levels of blood sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves. As part of testing, monitoring hemoglobin A1c can better reflect long-term control in people with diabetes or prediabetes.

• #5: Stop Smoking. If You Don’t Smoke or Vape, Don’t Start.  

Use of inhaled nicotine delivery products, which includes traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and vaping, is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, including about a third of all deaths from heart disease. And about a third of U.S. children ages 3-11 are exposed to secondhand smoke or vaping.

Intermountain Health has developed a Healthy Heart quiz to assess your risk. Go to to take the quiz to determine your heart health.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see

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