Knowing the facts about heart disease can help increase your chances of avoiding or overcoming heart disease. The first thing to know is that it can happen at any age. Heart disease occurs more often in younger adults than you may be aware. Higher rates of obesity and high blood pressure are putting more young adults at risk.



Risk Factors

There are 3 major risk factors that can lead to heart disease. First factor is high blood pressure. Millions of Americans have high blood pressure. High blood pressure doesn’t discriminate against age or sex. Of those millions of Americans with high blood pressure, only about half have it under control. The second factor is high blood cholesterol. Eating unhealthy foods and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to unhealthy levels of blood cholesterol. The third risk factor is smoking. More than 37 million U.S. adults are current smokers. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can be a cause of heart disease.

There are a variety of other conditions that can contribute to getting heart disease. Obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity, and unhealthy eating habits are all risk factors that can lead to heart disease. More than 1 in 3 Americans have obesity. Nearly 1 in 10 people in the U.S. have diabetes.


Being Heart Healthy

You can do a number of things to become heart healthy. First, if you smoke, quit! Most communities have support for helping individuals quit smoking, and talking to your medical provider is a good place to start. If you have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, your health care provider can help you manage these conditions. Sometimes this requires medications, and those need to be controlled by your provider. Eating heart healthy can also help change a number of factors that can lead to heart disease. Eating a low fat, low sugar, low sodium diet can help fight some of the conditions that lead to heart disease. Getting at least 150 minutes of activity per week can keep you active enough to help prevent heart disease.

You only get one heart. Keep it healthy!


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