Heart disease and stroke remain two of the top killers of Americans and pose a significant threat to millions of others, according to the American Heart Association.

February is American Heart Month, a time for each of us - if we haven't already done so - to take a serious look at our lifestyle.

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. and stroke is the No. 4 cause, according to a recent AHA study.

The association has released a study it conducted with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies.

Here are the facts:

• About 2,150 Americans die each day from heart-related diseases ... one every 40 seconds.

• Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

• Someone in the U.S. dies from heart disease about once every 90 seconds.

The American Heart Association gauges cardiovascular health by tracking seven key health factors and behaviors that increase risks for heart disease and stroke.

The goal is to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, by 2020.

So what can you do? Getting started on a healthy path might be easier than you think.

"Life's Simple 7" are: not smoking, physical activity, healthy diet, body weight, and control of cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Any health undertaking should be supervised by a healthcare professional, but we can start by cutting back on smoking, getting more exercise and eating a healthy diet.

And, we must instill the value of a healthy lifestyle on our children. It is difficult to travel the path alone, but with the support of family and friends we all can march toward a healthier future.