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Meet America’s Number One Killer

Lifestyle and Cardiovascular Disease
High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. These may be controlled by diet and exercise.

  • Diet: A healthy diet is one of the easiest ways to fight heart disease. Forget about fad diets and pledge to read food labels and eat healthy — for life. Beware of saturated and trans fats, cut back on foods high in cholesterol, reduce sugar and sodium intake. Control portion sizes. If you have too much fat ó especially if a lot of it is located in your waist area ó you’re at higher risk of heart disease.
  • Exercise: Lack of physical activity is a risk factor for heart disease and indirectly increases the risk of stroke. A little exercise goes a long way! Thirty minutes of moderate activity each day can be broken up into ten minute intervals. If itís been awhile since youíve exercised, start small and work your way up. Walking is a great way to begin moving toward a healthier future.
  • Tobacco Smoke: Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States and a major cause of cardiovascular heart disease. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk, even for smokers. Women smokers who use birth control pills have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke than nonsmokers who use them.

Affordable Care Act and Heart Disease
Under the Affordable Care Act, all new individual and group health plans must now provide recommended preventive care and services with no co-payment, co-insurance, or deductible — that includes blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and body mass index tests, and counseling on quitting smoking, losing weight, and maintaining a proper diet.

What are you doing for your heart this month?

Sources: The American Heart Association, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Writer Ann Pietrangelo is a regular contributor to Care2 Healthy & Green Living and Care2 Causes, and is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and The Authorís Guild. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

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1:51PM PST on Feb 20, 2011


2:57PM PST on Feb 14, 2011

Well, I had an echo and discovered I'm one of the 6% of the population with valve disease. Mitral and Tricuspid valve disease! Wonderful. Luckily I'm perfectly healthy with my coronaries and cholesterol and weight. And I eat the right amount of chocolate every day! Ha ha

1:44PM PST on Feb 11, 2011

It's that dang exercise thing with me. My grandmother had heart problems and my older sister had some a couple of years ago.
In order to make enough points to donate you have to sit at the computer just about all day. How about making it a little faster.

10:44AM PST on Feb 11, 2011

I'm a student paramedic currently on placement. In the month I've been on shifts, so far I'd approximate 80-90% of my patients have been those with cardiac problems and/or strokes. These diseases affect both the old and the young I had a patient just 38 years of age have a massive heart attack. Do what you can as early as you can to prevent it happening to you.

5:35AM PST on Feb 10, 2011


12:25AM PST on Feb 10, 2011

Thanks, I will try to stay away from smokers and not eat so much chocolate.

9:04PM PST on Feb 9, 2011


5:42AM PST on Feb 9, 2011

Sorry for the double comment.

5:42AM PST on Feb 9, 2011

I thought the red thing was an apple.

5:41AM PST on Feb 9, 2011

I thought the red thing was an apple...

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