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Tick Tock: Wake Up to the Signs of Heart Disease

Those are encouraging numbers, says Chavez. "It's important, especially for older patients, to understand they have a key role to play in their own health. It's never too late." Other experts agree. "Too often people think they're too old or too big to exercise, but there's something everyone can do," says Jane Delgado, president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. "Many people work in jobs that are strenuous, but it's not the kind of activity that strains their heart muscles. You need to get up and get moving."

And eat right. But Reboyras says buying healthful items poses a challenge in some neighborhoods. "All we have are mom-and-pop stores," he says, where lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains usually cost more. Keeping heart healthy might be more expensive, difficult, and time-consuming,  but it's money and effort well spent. "The first line of defense," says Chavez, "is prevention."

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