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Heart Disease Is a Killer

Hands holding red heart.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year. That's why it's important to understand what risk factors may lead to it.

What Increases Your Chances of Heart Disease?

There are a variety of factors that increase your chances of getting heart disease. Smoking, high cholesterol, lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet could increase your risk of developing the disease. Here are some important things to keep in mind about each:

  • Smoking increases the tendency for blood to clot, decreases HDL (good) cholesterol, and increases your odds of developing heart disease greatly if you have a family history.
  • According to the CDC, people with high LDL (bad) cholesterol have twice the risk of heart disease as people with a lower number.
  • Eating foods that contain high saturated fats and a lack of exercise can raise your risk of developing a host of diseases, including those affecting the heart.

Understanding Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood going through your arteries from your heart to other parts of your body. Having high blood pressure puts you at a higher risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease. Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:

  • The top number, systolic, is the higher number and it measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.
  • The bottom number, diastolic, is the lower number and it measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.

According to the American Heart Association, a normal blood pressure reading is a systolic number of 120 or below; and a diastolic number of 80 or below.

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure and knowing your cholesterol levels are vital to having a healthy heart, so get them checked and know your numbers.

Drexel Cardiology

Drexel Cardiology provides outstanding heart care and utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostic and testing equipment, while adhering to the highest standards of patient care. Our cardiologists specialize in heart attack, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, irregular heartbeats and advanced heart failure. Drexel Cardiology also offers comprehensive risk assessment to those who wish to prevent cardiac disease before symptoms arise.

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.

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