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There is actually a lot you can do to protect your heart. Knowing the risks and symptoms of heart disease is a good start.
Key risk factors for heart disease are:
Age is also a risk factor. Your risk for heart disease goes up as you age. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in people 65 and older.
Make Healthy Changes
There are lifestyle choices and changes you can make to lower your risk. When you control your risk factors, you help protect your heart. It’s easy to get started. Here are a few ideas.
Eat healthy meals. Include vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Enjoy fish at least twice a week. Limit fatty meats, butter and cheese that are high in saturated fat. Limit packaged and processed foods, and read food labels to watch out for added sugar and salt.
Add exercise to your life. Take a brisk 10-minute walk three times a day, 5 days a week.
If you smoke, quit. Make a plan to quit, then set a date to start. Get help at smokefree.gov.
Talk with your health care provider. Ask about lifestyle, exercise and dietary changes you can make to cut your risks. Follow your doctor's advice and take your medicines as directed.
Remember, You're Not Alone
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease that can lead to a heart attack.
While some heart attacks are sudden and intense, others can start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. Often people aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.
Know the Warning Signs
Pay attention to any of the following warnings of a possible heart attack:
If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 right away. Quick action helps save lives.
Originally published 3/27/2019; Revised 2021, 2022
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Last Updated 10012018Y0096_WEB_IL_CONNECT19_C