Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. But you can do a lot to protect your heart and stay healthy.
Heart-healthy living involves understanding your risk, making healthy choices, and taking steps to reduce your chances of getting heart disease, including coronary heart disease, the most common type. By taking preventive measures, you can lower your risk of developing heart disease that could lead to a heart attack. You can also improve your overall health and well-being.
The first step toward heart health is understanding your risk of heart disease. Your risk depends on many factors, some of which are changeable and others that are not. Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. These risk factors may be different for each person.
· Have a family history of early heart disease, for example if your father or brother was diagnosed before age 55, or your mother or sister was diagnosed before age 65
· Have a history of preeclampsia, which is a sudden rise in blood pressure and too much protein in the urine during pregnancy
· Have unhealthy eating behaviors
· Are age 55 or older for women or age 45 or older for men
Each risk factor increases your chance of developing heart disease. The more risks you have, the higher your overall risk.
Some risk factors cannot be changed. These include your age, sex, and a family history of early heart disease. Many others can be modified. For example, being more physically active and eating healthy are important steps for your heart health. You can make the changes gradually, one at a time. But making them is very important.
Maintaining a healthy heart is crucial for a long and healthy life. Here are some tips to help you achieve that: