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Fix Your Heart Before It Breaks

Mclatchy-Tribune News Service.

08-24-11

More women are taken out by heart disease than by any other illness. And yet, 80 percent of cardiac problems are preventable. Here are three lifestyle tweaks that will safeguard your ticker, from the September issue of Women's Health.

Drink Wine with Dinner

Yes, you read that right. In moderation, alcohol can actually benefit your heart. Drinking one - and only one - glass of red or white wine a day can decrease the chance of dying from heart disease by 25 percent.

Skip the Salt

Despite conflicting headlines, you should still bypass most salt shakers. Your body counteracts sodium intake by releasing extra water into the blood, leading to increased blood volume and a seriously overworked heart.

Snag Enough Sleep

Frequently missing out on sleep can take a toll on your heart in the form of high blood pressure, and that doesn't just apply to older folks. Nearly 20 percent of people from 24 to 32 years old already have the problem, which has few symptoms but can eventually lead to heart failure, according to a new study in the journal Epidemiology. Aim for around seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

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(For more workout tips and information, check out WomensHealthMag.com or pick up a copy of Women's Health magazine, on newsstands now.)

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(c) 2011, Women's Health magazine (www.womenshealthmag.com)

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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