Expert Alert

Keeping your heart healthy

Dr. Jeremy Van’t Hof next to a stock image of a heart

February is American Heart Month, a reminder for everyone to examine their cardiovascular health and make sure they are making heart healthy choices. University of Minnesota Medical School cardiovascular expert Jeremy Van’t Hof, MD, can speak about how people can take preventative heart health measures in their daily lives this month and throughout the year.

Jeremy Van’t Hof, MD

“Try to stay active all year, even when it’s cold. Just getting a 15 minute walk in every day is a huge health benefit. Try to do something every day, and it will eventually become a habit. Do what you can to make it sustainable and tailor your exercise to your lifestyle. The important part is that you do it. Any activity is better than sitting. 

“What you eat is always important. When I talk with patients, I always talk about a long term eating plan. It's not a 30 day plan. It’s more about what small changes you can make that you can continue for the rest of your life. It doesn't have to be dramatic. It could be adding a meatless meal every week, or taking a look at snacks and what you eat between meals. Fruit, veggies and nuts are all better alternatives to typical snack foods like chips, crackers and other processed foods. Avoid regularly eating salty foods if you can.

“Stress can affect heart health, as well. If something is preoccupying your time, you won't have time to do healthy activities. It's even easy to forget taking important medications if you're stressed.

“If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, make sure you have a check-in at least once a year with your physician. A regular review, even for those without these diagnoses, is beneficial and can keep your healthy heart habits in check.”

Jeremy Van’t Hof is a cardiologist at the U of M Medical School and M Health Fairview. His clinical interests include early detection of cardiovascular disease in order to prevent or delay the onset of cardiovascular events, familial hypercholesterolemia, resistant hypertension and complex polyvascular disease. He believes in an integrative treatment approach combining lifestyle alterations with evidence based medical therapy to maximize physical and mental health as well as quality of life.

About the University of Minnesota Medical School

The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. We acknowledge that the U of M Medical School, both the Twin Cities campus and Duluth campus, is located on traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakota and the Ojibwe, and scores of other Indigenous people, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with tribal nations. Learn more at

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