The month of February is American Heart Month and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.

According to the Centers for Disease and Control, one person dies every 37 seconds in the U.S. from cardiovascular disease.

Nearly 80% of cardiac events can be prevented.

A few simple lifestyle changes can make the difference between life or death.

Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and an unhealthy diet are all factors that increase the risk for heart disease.

It's reported that nearly half of Americans have at least one of these conditions. Oftentimes the risk factors, especially high blood pressure, are what are called "silent killers", meaning there are no major signs or symptoms shown until damage to the heart and arteries have been done.

It's commonly known these conditions can lead to a heart attack, but heart disease can also lead to a stroke as well. A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is reduced, keeping brain tissue from getting proper oxygen. Brain cells begin to die in minutes from the lack of oxygen, causing the chance of irreversible damage.

Just a few simple changes to your everyday routine could extend your life. KTVO News spoke with Doctor Justin Puckett, of Complete Family Medicine, to explain.

"So the primary risk factors you can manage without even seeing a health care professional, and that being eating whole foods, controlling your weight, being active and exercising. Those are the primary things that we can do from a lifestyle-wise to control our blood pressure, our cholesterol, all the risk factors that can contribute.”

Genetics can also influence the risk for heart disease in many ways. However, maintaining your wellness screenings and educating yourself on treatment options could help save your life as well.