Take steps today to lower your risk of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.
To help prevent heart disease, you can:
You are at higher risk for heart disease if you:
Your age and family history also affect your risk for heart disease. Your risk is higher if:
But the good news is there’s a lot you can do to prevent heart disease.
When people talk about heart disease, they are usually talking about coronary heart disease (CHD). It’s also called coronary artery disease (CAD). This is the most common type of heart disease.
When someone has CHD, the coronary arteries (tubes) that take blood to the heart are narrow or blocked. This happens when cholesterol and fatty material, called plaque (“plak”), build up inside the arteries.
Plaque is caused by:
When plaque blocks an artery, it’s hard for blood to flow to the heart. A blocked artery can cause chest pain or a heart attack. Learn more about CHD.
A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is suddenly blocked. Part of the heart may die if the person doesn’t get help quickly.
Some common signs of a heart attack include:
Not everyone who has a heart attack will have all the signs. Learn more about the signs of a heart attack.
Signs of a heart attack often come on suddenly. But sometimes, they develop slowly – hours, days, or even weeks before a heart attack happens.
Talk to your doctor if you feel unusually tired for several days, or if you develop any new health problems (like pain or trouble breathing). It’s also important to talk to your doctor if existing health issues (like pain) are bothering you more than usual.
If you’ve had a heart attack in the past, it’s important to know that symptoms of a new heart attack might be different from your last one – so talk with your doctor if you have any concerns about how you feel.
Don’t ignore any signs or feel embarrassed to call for help. Acting fast can save a life. Call 911 even if you aren’t sure it’s a heart attack.
An ambulance is the best and safest way to get to the hospital. In an ambulance, EMTs (emergency medical technicians) can keep track of how you are doing and start life-saving treatments right away.
People who call an ambulance often get treated faster at the hospital. And, if you call 911, the operator can tell you what to do until the ambulance gets there.
Take steps today to lower your risk for heart disease.
High cholesterol and high blood pressure can cause heart disease and heart attack. If your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers are high, you can take steps to lower them.
All men age 35 and older need to get their cholesterol checked.
You also need to get your cholesterol checked if you have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease and you are a:
Starting at age 18, get your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure has no signs or symptoms.
Use the myhealthfinder tool to get more screening recommendations based on your age and sex.