’Tis the season for turkey, presents and an increase of heart-related deaths. Statistically, December and January are the riskiest months for people living with heart disease; nearly half of all African Americans are estimated to be living with some form of it. Researchers suggest that during this two-month span, all people are more likely to overindulge in fatty foods and alcohol, have high levels of stress, and make taxing holiday travel plans—which they are reluctant to cancel or postpone. So give yourself the gift of better cardiovascular health.

  • Listen to your body. If you are experiencing chest pains, tightness in the chest or other symptoms, don’t brush it off, especially if you have a history of heart disease. Seek medical attention immediately!
  • Before traveling, double-check that you have packed your medications and make sure that you adhere to them.
  • Try to squeeze in an energizing walk or pop in a workout DVD in between your sweet potato pie and green bean casserole.
  • Monitor your salt intake.
  • Eat in moderation and limit alcohol consumption to one or two glasses a day.

For more information about symptoms and prevention, go to americanheart.org.