Ways to prevent serious heart conditions

A contestant on the 'Biggest Loser' had a heart attack, prompting healthy people to be more aware.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Mariano Reis' family doesn't mess around with poor eating habits.

“Both my wife and my daughters are what I would consider health nuts...so they kind of dragged me into it,” Reis said.

He tries to get in a workout every day but knows that's not enough to protect your heart.

“We've had a lot of friends or relatives that have had heart issues, some that have passed away. We've always been sort of healthy, but now integrating really what you eat with exercising - that's really important.”

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. Bob Harper's close call is a good reminder not to ignore the issue.

Dr. Nabeel Memon is a cardiologist for Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg.

He says you can't control a genetic condition, but there are things you can modify to remain heart-healthy.

“Excess salt intake can associate with high blood pressure and that increases your risk for heart disease," he said.  "Looking and checking the labels on foods that you eat. I always educate my patients that canned foods, canned soups have high salt.”

You've probably already heard this, but Memon says you should also cook more often because you know what's in your food. So make sure to measure how much salt you're adding as well.

He says you should try to get less than a gram of salt in your daily diet and look for low-sodium substitutes at the grocery store.

Also, it's important to get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at least once a year and try to get a workout in each day. 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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