FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- The leading killer of men and women in the United States is heart disease. February is Heart Health Month and taking action now can help reduce your chance of heart disease.

About half of all Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your age, family history and other health conditions can also put you at a higher risk for heart disease but there are things you can do to lower your risk.

Adopting a diet that is low in saturated fat and sodium is a fairly simple way to decrease your risk. Adding more fruits and vegetables and the "good" fats will provide a more balanced diet.

Getting the right amount of daily exercise also decreases your risk of heart disease. Exercise can also reduce obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

If you use tobacco products you are putting yourself at a higher risk for heart disease. Taking the steps to quit will greatly reduce your risk for heart disease. GLWACH offers tobacco cessation classes to help you quit and start your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

If you are at risk for heart attack, the first step you can take is to make an appointment with your primary care team. Your doctor can help you develop a plan of attack and also check for underlying issues which may increase your risk of heart disease. Gather your family history and take a look at what you can do to prevent becoming one of the many who fall victim to the No. 1 killer of men and women.

To make an appointment, call the TRICARE Appointment Line at (866) 299-4234.

(Editor's note: Brooks is the marketing specialist at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital)