What Is Heart Disease And How To Prevent It

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women combined! It claims nearly 700,000 people each year and the odds of someone dying from heart disease is 1 in 6! Heart disease is also the most expensive disease in the US, costing us nearly $1 billion dollars a day! To make all of this worse, 90% of heart disease is entirely preventable. This is why talking about heart disease and high blood pressure is so important! We need to turn these numbers around and fast.

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a term that is used to describe a number of different heart conditions though in day-to-day conversation it usually only refers to heart conditions that are caused by modern lifestyle choices. While there are many types of heart disease the one that is the most common is Coronary Heart Disease, a buildup of plaque that can lead to blockages in the arteries that supply your heart with blood. You are at higher risk for Coronary Heart Disease with these factors:

  • If you are over the age of 55 as a man or you are a woman who has gone through menopause
  • Diabetes
  • A Family History of Coronary Heart Disease
  • Genetics
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Living a Sedentary Lifestyle
  • High Levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad one) or low levels of HDL cholesterol (the good one)
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Smoking


How to Prevent Heart Disease

That list is pretty scary, I know. Some of the things like family history, genetics, and growing older are things that we have no control over. Thankfully there are quite a few things on that list we do have control over and if you do then you can drastically change your odds of getting Coronary Heart Disease and suffering a heart attack. Below I’ll go through each of the bullet points from above that are something you can have an impact on by making the right choices in your life.



There is more than one type of Diabetes, but it specifically types 2 that we’re looking at right now. Along with Coronary Heart Disease Type 2 Diabetes can cause blindness, kidney failure, and result in amputations of toes and more. Here’s what you can do to prevent getting Type 2 Diabetes.

  • Exercise
  • Drink Primarily Water
  • Lose Weight
  • Quit Smoking if you do
  • Reduce Your Portion Sizes
  • Cut Back on Carbs
  • Eat a High Fiber Diet
  • Reduce How Many Highly Processed Foods You Eat
  • Drink Coffee or Tea in moderation with only a splash of milk, no sugar, syrups, or other additives
  • Monitor Your Vitamin D levels and supplement if needed

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a silent killer. There’s no way to tell you to have it without tests from your doctor and it can lead to both heart disease and stroke. Here’s how to prevent high blood pressure.

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight
  • Exercise
  • Quit Smoking
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption
  • Get Enough Sleep
  • Eat a Healthy Diet with lots of fruits and veggies that are high in potassium and fiber
  • Reduce Salt and Saturated Fat

Living a Sedentary Lifestyle

The easiest way to stop living a sedentary lifestyle is to get moving! If you have a job where you’re sitting a lot then make sure you spend a few minutes walking around while you’re on a break. Go to the gym, take up jogging, or join a team sport. Aim for about 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week.

High Levels of LDL Cholesterol and Low Levels of HDL Cholesterol, aka Having High Cholesterol

Just like high blood pressure having high cholesterol can lead to heart disease and a stroke. Thankfully for us though our cholesterol levels are almost completely controlled by our diet. Though some medications and medical conditions can also have an impact as does your age. After 40 your liver has a harder time removing LDL cholesterol. Here are the risk factors you can control with high cholesterol.

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Quit Smoking
  • Reduce Alcohol Intake
  • Reduce How Many Highly Processed Foods You Eat


Reducing stress…entire books have been written about reducing stress. It certainly isn’t an easy problem to solve but, I do recommend this article with a few helpful tips to reduce the stress in your life.



42% of all Americans are obese. That number goes up to 49.6% for African Americans. While there are a number of things that can cause obesity the simple truth is that for most it comes down to diet and exercise. Eating a healthy diet low in heavily processed foods and following all the other guidelines for your diet that I’ve already mentioned is a great start, but that might not be enough. Talk with your doctor to put together a plan for you to reduce your weight if you aren’t a healthy weight already.


Let’s just come right out and say it, smoking is bad for you in all sorts of nasty ways and heart disease is just one of them. There are a number of services and programs out there to help you stop smoking and I highly encourage you to look into them or at the very least talk to your doctor about your options. Your life depends on it.


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  1. Hello my name is shavon mcdaniel and I just became and author how can I team up with you and we talk about heart disease and pregnancy in African American women

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