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Heart Disease for All Ages

Heart Disease – All Ages

  • Things you should know
  • Any age group is at risk
  • Symptoms of a heart attack
  • Prevention

Did You Know?

  • Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States, causing more deaths than all forms of cancer combined.
  • In men, the risk for heart attack increases significantly after the age of 45. In women, heart attacks are more likely to occur after the age of 50.
  • A heart attack strikes someone about every 34 seconds. How much do you really know about your heart health?
  • It’s easy to be lulled into the misconception that heart disease only happens to someone else.
  • While most heart attack victims are middle-aged or older, the truth is that heart disease can affect anyone, of any age, even those who exercise and eat all the right foods.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 735,000 Americans have a heart attack each year. Of these, 525,000 are a first time occurrence.

It Can Happen at Any Age

  • Heart disease can happen at any age.
  • High rates of obesity and high blood pressure among younger people (ages 35–64) are putting them at risk for heart disease earlier in life.
  • Nearly half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.

You Could Be at Risk

  • Many of the conditions and behaviors that put people at risk for heart disease are appearing at younger ages:
  • High blood pressure. Millions of Americans of all ages have high blood pressure, including millions of people in their 40s and 50s.
  • About half of people with high blood pressure don’t have it under control.
  • Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and other harmful conditions, such as stroke.
  • High cholesterol. High cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease. Having diabetes and/or obesity, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
  • Smoking. More than 35 million U.S. adults are current smokers, and thousands of young people start smoking each day 3,4 Smoking damages the blood vessels and can cause heart disease.
  • Obesity. Carrying extra weight puts stress on the heart. More than 1 in 3 Americans and nearly 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 have obesity.
  • Diabetes causes sugar to build up in the blood. This can damage blood vessels and nerves that help control the heart muscle. More than 1 in 10 people in the United States have diabetes.
  • Physical inactivity. Staying physically active helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. Only 1 in 4 adults meet the physical activity guidelines of getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.
  • Unhealthy eating patterns. Most Americans, including children, eat too much sodium(salt), which increases blood pressure. Replacing foods high in sodium with fresh fruits and vegetables can help lower blood pressure. Only about 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits and vegetables each day.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

  • Would you be able to tell if you are having a heart attack?
  • Warning signs include:
  • Chest pain. Most heart attacks start slowly and involve pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or disappears and then returns. It may feel like uncomfortable pressure or a squeezing sensation.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, having nausea or light-headed.
  • The most common heart attack symptom for both men and women is chest pain or discomfort.
  • But women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure and they are more likely to experience some of the other symptoms, particularly shortness of breath/fainting, nausea/vomiting or back and jaw pain.

4 Ways to Take Control of Your Heart Health

  • You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to your heart. Learn how to be heart-healthy at any age.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
  • Manage conditions. Work with your health care team to manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This includes taking any medicines you have been prescribed.
  • Make heart-healthy eating changes. Eat food low in trans fat, saturated fat, added sugar, and sodium. Try to fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and aim for low sodium options
  • Stay active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week.11You can even break up the exercise into 10-minute blocks for a total of 30 minutes in a day.