Heart disease has long been an issue among middle-aged Americans, but only recently have young adults and college students been educated on heart disease prevention. Statistically, heart disease is the leading cause of death around the world and the leading cause of death in the United States. So what are some things you need to know about this silent killer? How can you prepare while you’re still young and in killer shape? Look no further.

College students can definitely benefit from regular screenings. Talk to your doctor about your family’s heart health history, and make a plan for how to stay on top of your health. This plan may include a personalized cardio schedule, or a list of foods you may want to avoid regularly. Either way, seeing a doctor annually, or even semi-annually, will be better for your health in the long run.

Listen to your grandpa and avoid tobacco. Smoking can increase your chance of heart disease by up to four times. Why? Nicotine reduces the amount of oxygen that your heart gets, raises your blood pressure, and makes blood clots more likely. On top of heart disease, smoking can also cause breathing problems and lung cancer. Why not eliminate your risk of all three?

You can do so much on your own. Limit trans fats, and try to stick to lean meats. Exercise at least three times per week, and you’re golden. It’s a good idea to implement good exercise habits while you’re young and have a lot of energy. If you wait until your 30s to start exercising regularly, you’re more likely to run into roadblocks like joint pain or general fatigue.
Get an accountability partner with whom you can monitor each other’s health and lifestyles. Watching your heart health as a young adult is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, so don’t feel like you need to brave it alone.