BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Taking care of your health should be a priority.

In fact, doctors say 90% of heart disease isn’t caused by genetics but by a lack of physical activity.

Your heart health is central to overall good health. Not only is it responsible for pumping nutrient-rich blood throughout your body, but it supplies oxygen while also removing toxins and waste.

“Your health is your responsibility,” said cardiologist Dr. Fadi Alfayoumi. “It’s not your doctor’s responsibility. You got to take leadership of it.”

Some people find it easy to adopt a healthy lifestyle, while others may be forced to follow a major diagnosis like high blood pressure.

“But the idea, for example, of going to the office today to find a 36-year-old man who had open heart surgery, and I look back, and I found the history of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, maybe drug abuse at some point,” Alfayoumi said. “It’s prevalent. It’s very unfortunate, but that’s the reality. And that’s why we always implement the importance of lifestyle modifications.”         

Heart disease is a leading cause of death, and the numbers keep growing.

A part of prevention is getting regular checkups. If any labs or blood work come back inconclusive or slightly high, it’s best to address them rather than wait until you start developing symptoms.

“So if a doctor tells you that your body mass index or your weight is beyond the chart, or when they tell you that the blood pressure is elevated, or your cholesterol is high, just because you don’t feel symptoms, that doesn’t exclude the fact that this could be a recipe for a problem in the future,” said Alfayoumi.

Living a healthy lifestyle can also help improve your mental health. Relying on a support system can help keep you motivated to stay active and make healthier choices.

Registered nurse Heidi Lounsberry Jones said it’s about making adjustments toward a healthies life.

“[Having] an active lifestyle doesn’t mean that you have to go out and run a complete marathon,” Lounsberry said. “but it’s about making daily adjustments trying to take the stairs maybe instead of the elevators parked a little further out in the parking lot when you go to a store, anything that will get you a little bit more active.”