Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
February 5, 2002
R. Lacy, M.D.
Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Dennis McGowan
- February is known as the month
to give your heart to the one you love. And there's no better way
to do so than by taking steps to prevent heart disease.
disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming
more lives each year than cancer, accidents and AIDS combined. Coronary
artery disease (clogging of the arteries) causes about 1.5 million
heart attacks a year, with about one-third of victims dying. More
than 250,000 people with heart attacks die before even getting to
heart disease can be deadly and sometimes strikes without warning,
it's important to recognize risk factors. Several risk factors are
not changeable. For instance, heart disease is more likely in males
and post-menopausal women, older adults and people with family history
of heart disease.
there are risk factors that can be impacted. New Jersey's Acting
Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services Clifton
R. Lacy, M.D. offers these suggestions on ways to reduce the risk
of heart disease:
smoke. Smokers have more than twice the risk for heart disease
as non-smokers and are more likely to die from a heart attack.
Smoking is the most preventable risk factor. If you smoke, quit.
If you don't smoke, don't start.
your cholesterol under control. High blood cholesterol levels
increase the risk for coronary artery disease. Men over 30 and
women over 40 should have their cholesterol levels checked. People
with family history of heart disease should have it checked even
earlier. No matter what your family history, however, keep your
diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats to lower cholesterol
levels and reduce the risk for heart disease.
your blood pressure. More than 50 million Americans have hypertension,
making it the most common heart disease risk factor. Make sure
your physician evaluates your blood pressure and prescribes medication
People with sedentary lifestyles, both at work and in their leisure
time, have higher rates of death and heart disease compared to
people who exercise even modest amounts. You don't have to belong
to a gym or become a long-distance runner. Even leisure-time activities
such as gardening, bowling or walking can lower the risk for heart
undergoing any change in lifestyle, consult your physician to help
you accomplish all of these preventive goals and take the first
steps towards a healthier heart and a longer life.