Healthy heart tips

What is heart disease?

Heart and blood vessel diseases make up cardiovascular disease — also known as heart disease. Heart disease includes conditions that damage the heart such as:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Stroke

How common is heart disease?

  • Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. dies of a stroke, heart attack or other cardiovascular disease
  • Eighty percent of all heart disease and strokes could be prevented if people exercised more, ate healthier and stopped using tobacco
  • Heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. for men and women
  • Cardiovascular disease, listed as the underlying cause of death, accounts for nearly 836,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. That’s about 1 of every 3 deaths in the U.S

What are the risk factors for heart disease?

  • Having high blood pressure, which is defined as having a systolic blood pressure reading between 130 and 139 mmHg or a diastolic reading between 80 and 89 mmHg
  • Having high cholesterol defined as over 200 mg/dL
  • Having diabetes
  • Being overweight defined as having a body mass index (BMI) measurement over 25
  • Your hereditary background

Tips to help keep a healthier heart

  • Exercise regularly by aiming for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage your blood pressure
  • Take control of your cholesterol
  • Keep blood sugar at healthy levels
  • Don’t smoke
  • Manage stress
  • Establish a relationship with a primary care physician, know your health numbers (BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose) and follow your doctor’s advice

Heart attack warning signs

If you, a loved one, friend or someone you witness is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 and get help.

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Light headedness