Senior Citizen's Guide to Philadelphia and Suburbs Fall/Winter 2013 - page 7
Heart disease may be the leading cause of death in
the United States, and recent studies indicate African
Americans develop heart disease at higher rates than
Caucasians, even with the same risk factors. However,
that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to change your
fate. While you lack the power to change some risk fac-
tors, you can take some preventive steps.
Don’t Smoke
Smoking is one of the leading risk factors for heart
disease. Substances in tobacco smoke can lead to nar-
rowing of the blood vessels (atherosclerosis); blood
thickening (resulting in blockages); increase the work-
load of the heart pump; along with a decrease in oxygen
levels due to carbon monoxide in the smoke.
Regular smoking and even “social smoking” is bad for
your health. If you smoke, ask your doctor about ways
to cut down or quit. Keep in mind that not everyone
quits the first time. Most people try many times until
they finally quit.
Keep Your Weight at a Healthy Level
Our weight is a mixture of bone, muscle, water and
fat. As we get older we gain weight, which is not muscle,
but instead fat and may cause problems such as diabe-
tes, high blood pressure, joint damage and heart disease.
What then is a good weight? BMI (body mass index)
is a guide used by the medical profession. There are
many apps or calculators on the Internet to figure yours
out. Another way to judge is by the width of your waist,
5 Things You Can Do to Reduce
Your Risk of Heart Disease
1,2,3,4,5,6 8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,...48
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