What is cardiovascular disease?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is when there are changes in your blood vessels. These changes are caused by age and unhealthy habits, like smoking. They also can run in families. Having CVD makes you more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. In the United States, more than 10 times as many women die from CVD as from breast cancer.
How can I tell if I have CVD?
You may not notice that you have CVD. You are more likely to have it if you:
have high blood pressure,
have high cholesterol, or
have a relative with CVD.
Ask your doctor if you are at risk for heart disease and stroke.
What can I do to prevent CVD?
Exercise regularly. For example, walk, jog, or swim for 30 minutes every day.
Eat a heart-healthy diet.
Keep at a healthy body weight. Ask your doctor what your body mass index (or BMI) is. Try to keep your BMI below 25 kg per m2.
Take all your medicines and follow your doctor’s directions, especially if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol.
Where can I get more information?
American Heart Association
Telephone: 1-800-AHA-USA-1 (1-800-242-8721)