Heart Disease Can Happen at Any Age
Heart disease doesn’t happen just to older adults. It is happening to younger adults more and more often. This is partly because the conditions that lead to heart disease are happening at younger ages. February is Heart Month, the perfect time to learn about your risk for heart disease and the steps you need to take now to help your heart.
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 blood cholesterol. High cholesterol can increase the risk for heart disease. Having diabetes and obesity, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
-Smoking. More than 37 million U.S. adults are current smokers, and thousands of young people start smoking each day. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can cause heart disease.
MANAGE YOUR HEART HEALTH
On average, U.S. adults have hearts that are 7 years older than they should be. Other conditions and behaviors that affect your risk for heart disease include obesity, diabetes, and unhealthy eating patterns.
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.
1. Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit.
2. 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. Learn how to prevent and manage high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
3. 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. Learn more about how to reduce your sodium intake.
4. Stay active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. You can even break up the 30 minutes into 10-minute blocks. Learn more about how to get more physical exercise.
Visit cdc.gov/features/heart month for tips on how to be heart healthy.