Heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect your heart. Diseases under the heart disease umbrella include blood vessel diseases, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects), among others.
The term “heart disease” is often used interchangeably with the term “cardiovascular disease.”
Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease.
Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices.
Risk factors for developing heart disease include:
Cardiovascular disease symptoms may be different for men and women. Men are more likely to experience chest pain while women are more likely to have other symptoms along with chest discomfort, such as shortness of breath, nausea and extreme fatigue.
Symptoms can include:
Total cholesterol is the sum of all the cholesterol in your blood. The higher your total cholesterol, the greater your risk for heart disease. Here are the total values that matter to you:
Less than 200 mg/dL ‘Desirable’ level that puts you at lower risk for heart disease. A cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or greater increases your risk.
200 to 239 mg/dL ‘Borderline-high.’
240 mg/dL and above ‘High’ blood cholesterol. A person with this level has more than twice the risk of heart disease compared to someone whose cholesterol is below 200 mg/dL.
High density lipoproteins (HDL) is the ‘good’ cholesterol. HDL carry cholesterol in the blood from other parts of the body back to the liver, which leads to its removal from the body. So HDL help keep cholesterol from building up in the walls of the arteries.
Here are the HDL-Cholesterol Levels that matter to you:
Less than 40 mg/dL A major risk factor for heart disease
40 to 59 mg/dL The higher your HDL, the better
60 mg/dL and above An HDL of 60 mg/dL and above is considered protective against heart disease.
Systolic blood pressure is the first number of your blood pressure reading. For example, if your reading is 120/80 (120 over 80), your systolic blood pressure is 120
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