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Heart disease is a leading killer of men and women in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year. Some risk factors of heart disease, such as family history and age, can’t be changed. But there are many risk factors that you can change.
About half of all Americans have at least one of the three main risk factors for heart disease:
Other risk factors include:
By controlling risk factors, you can protect your heart. Start with lifestyle changes you can make to cut your risk.
Try these recommendations from the American Heart Association:
If you take heart medicine, be sure to take it as your doctor directed.
If you think you have risk factors for heart disease, talk to your doctor about what you can do to help your heart.
If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 right away.
You may have heard that statin therapy can help your heart. But what are statins? Statins are drugs prescribed to help lower cholesterol. Studies have shown they lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Whether you need to be on a statin depends on your cholesterol levels and other risk factors for heart and blood vessel disease. Your doctor will look at all your health conditions before giving you a statin.
Most people have few problems taking statins. But they can have side effects. So tell your doctor about any new symptoms you have. But don’t stop taking statins or other prescriptions without first talking to your doctor.
Originally published 6/11/2020; Reviewed 2022
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