Heart Health & Prevention

Keep your heart strong for a lifetime. Rely on Essentia Health to provide education and support so you can lead a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Prevent or Manage Heart Problems

Making lifestyle changes can help you control a heart condition or reduce your risk of developing one. Even small steps can make a big difference.

  • Eat a balanced diet. Include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein like beans, fish, and nuts. Avoid foods that are fried, packaged, or high in salt or sugar.
  • Be active. Exercise 20 to 30 minutes most days. Working out at an Essentia fitness center or elsewhere can strengthen your heart and manage your weight.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight if you’re overweight can help prevent many health problems. Working with a weight management expert can help.
  • Get quality sleep. Aim for 8 hours a night. Talk to a sleep specialist for more information.
  • Quit smoking or using tobacco and avoid secondhand smoke. See tips for quitting tobacco and how it benefits your overall health.
  • Manage stress. Hobbies, spending time with loved ones, exercise, and mindfulness can help.
  • Manage health conditions. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome are linked to an increased risk of heart trouble. See your primary care doctor regularly to prevent and manage health problems.

Cardiology: Tips for a Heart Healthy Lifestyle Video Transcript


Text, Tips for a heart healthy lifestyle. Essentia HealthA woman in an examining room with a model of a heart next to her

SPEAKER: I think the number one thing that I can tell my patients to really help them have a tremendous impact on their heart health is to move. Just move. And for most people, it's incorporating maybe 10, 15 minutes of physical activity into their daily routine and then try to build that up to the recommended 30 minutes of daily activity. The other thing that we often see are people who are smokers, and I counsel everybody every time I see them to consider cutting back or quitting smoking. There are diet changes that you can make that will reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet have been the ones that have been proven. Those include making sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, reducing the sodium intake to less than 2 grams per day, and limiting the amount of red meat and dairy that you eat.

Cardiometabolic Clinic

The Cardiometabolic Clinic at Essentia Health is a specialized program developed to help reduce your cardiometabolic risk, maintain a healthier lifestyle, and improve risk factors to prevent heart and vascular disease. Offered at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center and Essentia Health-Fargo, our team treats patients who are at risk of, or have cardiovascular disease, as well as one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Diabetes, pre-diabetes or insulin resistance
  • High cholesterol and/or elevated triglyceride levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Excess body weight
  • Family history of premature heart attack or stroke
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Any of the risk factors above can increase your chances for heart disease, however when combined, the chance for early and severe cardiovascular disease (such as heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease) is greater. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the onset and progression of cardiovascular disease. The cardiometabolic team works with each patient to identify their health issues and risk factors to create a tailored treatment plan to fit individual lifestyle goals. Our goal is to help you live a healthier lifestyle, without the fear of heart and vascular disease.


  • Doctor and specialist consultation
  • Laboratory testing
  • Nutrition counseling
  • 2D echocardiography
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Stress tests
  • CT coronary scan

Schedule your appointment today:

Fargo: 701-364-8900; Duluth: 218-786-3443

Medical Insight: Cardiometabilic Clinic Video Transcript

ANTHONY MATT: Welcome to Medical Insight. A weekly health care feature brought to you by the experts at Essentia Health. Here's your host Anthony Matt.

The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Host Anthony Matt comes dressed in suit and tie.

ANTHONY MATT: Today on Medical Insight, we're featuring something offered at Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center called a cardiometabolic clinic. It's for patients who are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Text, Natalia de Albuquerque Rocha, MD. Cardiology. Dr. Rocha wears a lab coat.

NATALIA DE ALBUQUERQUE ROCHA, MD: Cardiometabolic diseases are things like type two diabetes, prediabetes, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity. So these conditions will increase your risk of having heart disease and disease of the blood vessels. ANTHONY MATT: The goal of the cardiometabolic clinic is to bring awareness to patients elevated risk for these diseases and give them control of their health. NATALIA DE ALBUQUERQUE ROCHA, MD: Cardiometabolic clinic aims to make sure that all those risk factors are well controlled and that we're following all the guidelines. The most recent guideline's directed. ANTHONY MATT: Doctors will create a personalized plan for each individual patient, ensuring it's tailored for them and their condition. NATALIA DE ALBUQUERQUE ROCHA, MD: That will include an exercise plan. You can see our dietitian, and we'll go over every single risk factor that the patient has and create a plan of treatment. Most things you'll be able to do at home. ANTHONY MATT: About 40% of Essentia's adult patients with diabetes have cardiovascular and other risk factors. The clinic will strive to help those patients along with those who are discharged from hospitals after cardiovascular events or have a history of heart failure and other risk factors. NATALIA DE ALBUQUERQUE ROCHA, MD: Patients are losing weight if they're obese. They're getting their cholesterol under control, they're getting their A1C under control, and they're overall feeling better. So it's an improvement in quality of life. ANTHONY MATT: Patients can either self refer or be referred by their primary care doctor. There are also virtual options available for this as well.

Text, Medical Insight. The Essential Health logo appears.


SPEAKER 1: To learn more about this or other health topics, visit ESSENTIAHEALTH. ORG/MEDICALINSIGHT.


Are You at Risk for Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. Learn your risk for heart disease by taking our free online heart health risk assessment to learn how you can prevent future complications. Heart disease symptoms can be different in everyone so it’s important to understand your personal risk factors.

During the assessment, you compare your actual age to your heart's biological age, calculate your risks of developing cardiovascular disease, and prioritize your most harmful risk factors. Take our free, five-minute online heart assessment to learn your "heart age" and discover helpful lifestyle tips.

Heart health risk assessment

Broken Heart Syndrome

Medical Insight: Broken Heart Syndrome Video Transcript


Essentia Health logo. Text: Medical insights. A woman and man laugh by sparkling water

TRACY BRIGGS: The language we use about love can sometimes seem like anything but. Crushes, falling heart, heartache, broken hearts.

A man rests his head in one hand

As they say, love hurts, right? And it's not exactly wrong. Your broken heart can actually hurt, and in extreme cases, the term died of a broken heart can be true. Turns

Heart model with EKG lines moving over it.

out, there is a medical reason for the physical side of emotional pain. Essentia Health interventional cardiologist Dr. Samantha Kapphahn says it's possible because of topic pseudo cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome, where the heart is so shocked or surprised by extreme emotion that stress hormones or adrenaline flood the body.

Model of inside the body with heart, veins, and internal organs shown.

DR. SAMANTHA KAPPHAHN: The way that the body responds to that surge of stress hormones in your body creates certain changes with the way the heart acts and the way the heart functions. Dr. Kapphahn says people with broken heart syndrome might feel like they're having a heart attack. But Dr. Kapphahn says doctors can tell it's not a heart attack when they look more closely at the patient's arteries.

EKG machines. Healthcare professional talking to woman.

DR. SAMANTHA KAPPHAHN: Traditionally, with people who have the broken heart syndrome, their heart arteries, for the most part, are actually pretty good. Or their episode is not being caused by a blocked artery in the sense, like a heart attack might be the way most of us think about them. TRACY BRIGGS: Beside the difference in the amount of artery blockage, Dr. Kapphahn says another clear indicator of broken heart syndrome is distinctive patterns in how the heart pumps.

Models of vein, and then upper body.

DR. SAMANTHA KAPPHAHN: The very early bases of the heart squeeze very aggressively. But the rest of the heart is so stunned and in shock, it doesn't squeeze very well at all.

Woman at desk with picture of heart on monitor.

TRACY BRIGGS: Dr. Kapphahn says broken heart syndrome can happen to anyone during times of extreme emotion. The good news, though, is that those with a broken heart aren't usually suffering from a serious medical issue. However, in those rare, serious cases, patients usually recover with the help of cardiac medication and emotional support. With this Essentia Health Medical Insight, I'm Tracy Briggs.

Essentia Health logo. Text: Medical Insights.

Make an Appointment

Schedule by Phone
Monday - Friday: 8 am - 5 pm

Like most websites, we use cookies and other technologies to keep our website reliable, secure, and to better understand how our site is used. By using our site, you agree to our use of these tools. Learn more.