Heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, or coronary artery disease, refers to most conditions caused by atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries. Most frequently, it takes the form of heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia or heart valve problems.
It’s also the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide, and in many cases it is preventable. Discover nine more facts about heart disease in the infographic below.
The healthcare community has had significant success in the prevention and treatment of heart disease: over the last several decades, there has been a 50 percent decline in the number of deaths due to heart disease or heart attack. Still, many of the lifestyle risk factors are as preventable as they are prevalent. Take fitness for example: In 2014, one in every three adult Americans said they had no physical activities outside the workplace.
“Exercise is one of the safest, most effective ways to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as heart disease,” says Barbara A. Garren, RN. “Prevention is the name of the game with heart disease. The first step of an exercise regime can be the hardest but well worth it in the long run.”
Furthermore, about half of Americans have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoke – all of which are risk factors for heart disease – and 90 percent of women have at least one of the seven primary lifestyle risk factors. To help more people prevent heart disease, the American Heart Association advocates Life’s Simple 7:
- Not Smoking
- Physical Activity
- Healthy Diet
- Healthy Body Weight
- Cholesterol Control
- Blood Pressure Control
- Blood Sugar Control
Making efforts to manage these factors can reduce risk for a heart attack or stroke by more than 80 percent. To help you best manage your heart health, discover what each risk factor looks like in every day life.