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Health - Heart Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year more than half a million Americans die from heart disease, making it the number one cause of death for both men and women. The Commonwealth strives to educate and inform residents about the preventative measures they can take to reduce their risk of developing heart disease.

About Heart Disease

Heart disease is a general term used to describe a number of heart conditions. Risk factors of heart disease include:

  • Genetics;
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol;
  • Smoking;
  • Unhealthy diet; and
  • Lack of exercise.

The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to a heart attack. Symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain;
  • Discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back;
  • Pressure in the arms or shoulders;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Weakness; and
  • Feeling light-headed or faint.

Five Tips for a Healthier Heart

The good news about heart disease is that you can reduce your risk by following these tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).

  1. Incorporate healthier nutrition options into your diet to reduce the risks of heart disease, certain cancers, and other chronic diseases.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight to avoid putting strain on your heart. Individuals with obesity or excess weight are at greater risk for developing heart disease. Regular exercise or getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a week can lower your chances of developing the condition.
  3. Monitor or prevent diabetes. If uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to further issues including heart disease.
  4. Get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly. Unhealthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels can trigger heart disease and other health complications.
  5. Avoid tobacco products and secondhand smoke. Quitting smoking can greatly decrease your chances of developing heart disease. According to the CDC, smoking increases an individual’s risk of heart disease by two to four times.

By spreading the word about heart disease, you can help someone you know live a longer, healthier life.

What steps are you taking to improve your heart health? Share below or tweet us @MassGov.

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