St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Center
Heart disease is America’s #1 killer. More lives are claimed each year by cardiovascular diseases, including hear disease and stroke, then the next seven leading causes of death combined.
Simply put, your heart is the organ through your network of arteries and veins, each day beating some 100,000 times and pumping 2,000 gallons of blood. If your heart begins to malfunction, the effects on your body are immediate. And often life-threatening.
That’s the bad news. But there is good news. There are many risk factors for heart disease that are within your control. That’s why the best way to prevent heart disease is to fully understand your risk factors.
Risk factors are conditions or behaviors that increase your likelihood of developing a disease. When you have more than one risk factor for heart disease, your risk greatly multiplies. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Simply by better managing your diet, controlling your blood pressure and weight, getting regular exercise, and making changes to your health habits, you can dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease.
Risk factors beyond your control are:
- Age (45 or older for men; 55 or older for women)
- Family history of early heart disease (having a mother or sister who were diagnosed with heart disease before age 65, or a father or brother diagnosed before age 55).
*Source: United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health