You’ve heard it before — heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. So what’s the good news? According to the American Heart and Stroke Association (AHSA), 80 percent of heart disease doesn’t have to happen.
Heart attacks happen suddenly, but the cause usually forms through several years of poor lifestyle choices.
Imagine if you had X-ray vision and could see inside your body. You might be surprised to know plaque begins to form in your arteries when you are a teen. Plaque is comprised of cholesterol, calcium and other substances which harden, damaging the inner layers of the arteries and causing them to narrow and restrict blood flow. It continues to form over your lifetime, leading to hardening of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.
Luckily, you can prevent, stop and possibly reverse the damage to your arteries with lifestyle changes. The AHSA recommends Life’s Simple 7 — controlling your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, exercise, nutrition, weight and also not smoking. Managing these seven factors makes a positive difference in your heart health and quality of life.