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Over 600,000 Americans die every year from some form of heart disease, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women. In fact, someone has a heart attack every 42 seconds in the United States.
Although heart disease is a common condition, it can be prevented and managed by making healthy lifestyle choices. Here are some basic facts about heart disease: what causes it, factors that can increase your risk and how to treat and prevent it.
Heart disease includes several types of conditions related to the heart. The most common of these is coronary artery disease (CAD), which is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year. CAD is caused by decreased blood flow due to plaque buildups in the arteries that bring blood to the heart. There are several other forms of heart disease, as well, like angina, arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy. Symptoms of heart disease vary between different types.
The causes of heart disease depend on the specific heart condition and can be influenced by different risk factors including age, sex and family history. It’s important to be aware of these risk factors and monitor them closely with your doctor.
Certain conditions can increase your risk. These include:
Behaviors and lifestyle choices that can influence risk of heart disease include:
Treatment and prevention of heart disease go hand in hand — many of the methods that help reduce the risk of heart disease are similar to those that help reduce symptoms and manage conditions if they are present. These include:
Lifestyle habits can help prevent and manage heart disease: eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, controlling weight and limiting consumption of alcohol.
If you’re at risk of heart disease or if you have conditions related to heart disease, talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to help you create a treatment plan that works best for your lifestyle.
“Heart disease.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/basics/definition/con-20034056
“About Heart Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.