HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – February is American Heart Month, but heart health is something Dr. Gautam Reddy believes we should be taking more seriously year-round.

Dr. Reddy, a cardiologist and heart valve specialist at Huntsville Hospital, took time to join Steve Johnson on Leadership Perspectives and share some insight on things you can do to focus on heart health.

Every month is heart month for a cardiologist like Dr. Reddy, but this month is particularly important for cardiologists to educate the public on what habits they should be trying to make and what symptoms or issues they should watch out for.

“I think of it kind of like Christmas. Ideally, we should be in the Christmas spirit all the time but we’re not, so it’s useful to have a reminder that this is an important organ…One that dictates how you can spend the rest of your life, so let’s pay attention to it this month, let’s keep it going as much as possible,” Dr. Reddy said.

Exercise, diet, and not smoking may all seem like obvious ways to better your heart health and health in general, but something that is easier said than done. Dr. Reddy said he empathizes with the fact its hard as someone with a history of heart problems in his family who has had to prioritize his own heart health, but he did want to put an emphasis on the importance of these habits.

“Yeah, I think if you, if somebody smokes I think that is really number one on our radar because it does a number on your body. And another thing, I’ve noticed if you tell people to get into exercising and they successfully do that, everything else seems to follow. If you can maintain an exercise program I think that’s probably one of the number one things you can do,” Dr. Reddy said.

Dr. Reddy added that it even took some time for him to take his heart health seriously, but he suggests focusing some attention on the subject. He said that educating yourself on symptoms so you know what to look for or even scheduling a visit with a cardiologist so you can make sure that all the risk factors that you have are taken care of is a great way to get started.

To watch the full interview with Dr. Reddy, you can visit the video player at the top of this page.