ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Delonda Jackson woke up one morning with numbness in her arm. She went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with heart failure at the age of 38.

“It was just a respiratory issues I thought I was having, and they just kept on going on,” she said. However, “My heart wasn’t working like it was supposed to, so we were just trying to figure out what was going on.”

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the United States, and doctors say diet is a big factor.

“It comes down to decreasing our sugar intake, decreasing our processed foods intake,” said Dr. Jerry Yan, a cardiologist with UW Health. “Make sure that you’re up to date on your screening. It can really go a long way in terms of preventing or decreasing your risk of developing heart disease five years, ten years, twenty years down the line.”

Delonda said the changes she made not only helps her but her family, too.

“I didn’t feel like I was doing this just for my heart. It was like overall death, like you want to live longer, eat better, work out, move around a little bit,” she said.

To prevent heart disease, Yan recommends screening for blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes, as early as 18-years-old.