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Heart Disease and Stroke

Cardiovascular Diseases

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in men, and stroke is the number four cause of death in men in the United States. Heart disease and stroke account for nearly 40% of all deaths in the U.S. Every 34 seconds one person dies of heart disease and stroke in the U.S. every year. While more common among those over 65 years of age, deaths are increasing for those aged 15-34. More than 6 million people are hospitalized every year for heart disease, and over 1 million persons are disabled because of stroke every year.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol are two major independent risk factors for heart disease. In 1999-2000, almost 30% of adults in the U.S. had had high blood pressure, and an additional 31% had prehypertension. Heart disease could be reduced as much as 30% if people lower their total blood cholesterol levels by only 10%. Tobacco use, diabetes, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity are also big risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Men are more likely to die of heart disease earlier in life than women, because men commonly develop heart disease 10 to 15 years earlier than women. Of all deaths from heart disease, approximately one-fourth of those deaths are in men aged 46 to 65.

High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes should be treated and improved to lower your chances for heart disease and stroke. Also, quitting smoking is important to reduce your risks. Eating a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and low-fat foods is important, as well as keeping a healthy weight and exercising at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week will greatly reduce your risks of heart disease and stroke. Control your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, along with a good diet, weight control, and exercise, and your risk for heart disease and stroke will be reduced greatly.

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