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Sunday, May 19, 2013
If you’re like most people, you may think of heart disease as a problem for other folks. If you’re a woman, you may believe that being female protects you from heart disease. If you’re a man, you may believe you’re not old enough to have a serious heart condition. Wrong on all counts.
Heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States-of both men and women. It affects many people at midlife as well as in old age. African Americans and Latinos are at especially high risk for heart disease and have high rates of some of the risk factors that lead to heart disease.
The good news is that heart disease is preventable. You can take action to reduce your risk of heart disease by focusing on your lifestyle and habits. This fact sheet gives you steps you can take to protect your heart health. And what’s good for you, is good for your whole family. As an adult, you can make lifestyle changes that can set a good example for children who may have already developed habits that can lead to heart disease.
Coronary heart disease-often simply called heart disease-occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to a buildup of plaque on the inner walls of the arteries. A heart attack occurs when the plaque in an artery bursts and a clot forms over the plaque, blocking flow through the artery and preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart.
Heart disease is a lifelong condition. Once you get it, you’ll always have it. But there is much you can do to control the risk factors for heart disease, prevent a heart attack, and increase your chances for a long and vital life.
The first step to improving your heart health is learning about your risk profile. Then begin taking the steps to heart health: don’t smoke, follow a heart healthy eating plan, be physically active, and maintain a healthy weight. Start today to keep your heart strong.
Source: In Brief: Your Guide to A Healthy Heart National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Many research studies are underway to help us learn about heart health. Would you like to find out more about being part of this exciting research? Please visit the following links:
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Last Reviewed: May 31, 2012