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What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the #1 cause of death for
women and men in the U.S.

Heart disease includes various types of heart conditions, the most common of which is coronary artery disease, which restricts blood flow to the heart and can cause a heart attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack every 42 seconds!

Risk Factors

Black women have heart disease rates twice as high as those for White women. That’s primarily because Black women have higher rates of obesity, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, all of which increase your risk of heart disease. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Eating unhealthy foods
  • Being physically inactive
  • Excessive drinking
  • A family history of heart disease


Typical heart disease symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating

Heart disease symptoms are sometimes different for women and men. Women are more likely to have:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath

What You Can Do?

Here are some things you can do to lower your risk of heart disease:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer foods high in fat, cholesterol and salt content
  • Stop smoking
  • Do 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activity (brisk walking, dancing etc.) at least five days a week. The 30 minutes don’t have to be consecutive. You can break them up into short ten-minute periods.
  • Have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly
  • Limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink (one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5 shot of hard liquor) a day.
  • Learn your family history

Most importantly, make sure you talk to your doctor about any heart concerns, especially if you have a family history of heart disease.

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