NORFOLK, Neb. -- February is National Heart Month and one northeast Nebraska hospital is helping spread awareness.

Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk is educating the public on the best ways to take care of your heart.

Dr. Eric Rome, a cardiologist, said heart health starts with exercise.

"If you do 20 minutes per day, about five days a week, they've seen that people will get cardiovascular benefit even if they do a smaller amount of activity," he said. "One in five people in our country do that low amount so there is a benefit to exercise definitively but you really don't need to do a lot."

When it comes to eating, Rome said people should stick with the Mediterranean Diet which consists of mainly fruits and vegetables, and stays away from red meat and poultry.

He said that one contributing factor that leads to heart disease in northeast Nebraska is obesity.

"Just recently we've seen a little bit of an increase in that, nationally and here," he said. "Part of that has been driven by obesity and the sedentary lifestyle and we have to pay close attention because our state we are in the top 20 when it comes to obesity rates."

Rome said symptoms that a person’s heart could not be healthy include fatigue, chest pain, and loss of appetite.

He shared with News Channel Nebraska why he believes having a month dedicated to heart health is important.

"We do see changes in terms of newer diagnoses or trends that we can address if we are reassessing these things or we can readdress them and convey that information to the public where they can make changes," he said. "A lot of the changes we can educate the patient population that they can make a difference in their own lives."

Rome recommends getting CPR certified because it can help save a life at a time when it's least expected.

For more information about how to take care of your heart and celebrate National Heart Month, visit this link.