Heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, is a major cause of death in the United States today. Coronary artery disease is the progressive narrowing of the arteries that provide oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This narrowing is a result of fatty deposits called plaque forming on the walls of the coronary arteries. If an artery becomes completely blocked, a heart attack can occur.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Eat a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Limit your total daily fat intake to no more than 30 percent of your daily calories
and limit saturated fat intake to no more than 10 percent of your total fat calories.
- Do some form of aerobic exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes three times a week.
- Aerobic exercise strengthens and conditions the heart muscle while controlling your weight and blood pressure. (Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program.)
- Find ways to cope with stress through relaxation and time management techniques.
- Have regular medical check-ups.
RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE
- a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat high blood pressure obesity
- tobacco use
- lack of cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise family history of heart or blood vessel disease
WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure can be caused by and contribute to the build-up of plaque in the blood vessels.
- Quit smoking. Nicotine reduces blood flow to the heart. It also weakens the walls of the arteries.
- Maintain a normal, healthy body weight. Men who are even 20 percent over their ideal body weight are more prone to high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.