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Heart Disease is Still A Leading Cause of Death

Heart disease is still one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Sadly, minorities are disproportionally affected. However, understanding your own risks and learning prevention strategies are key to preventing heart disease.


Risk Factors for heart disease include:

·         Having a medical history of high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels

·         Being overweight

·         Having diabetes or prediabetes

·         Smoking

·         Being physically inactive

·         Poor dental health and/or periodontal disease

Did you know there is a correlation between poor dental health, periodontal disease, and heart disease? When you don’t practice good oral care and neglect flossing your teeth regularly, plaque can build up inside your mouth and travel to your arteries. When plaque builds up in your arteries, this fatty plaque can cause atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs in the body when the blood vessels that carry oxygen from the heart to the rest of your body becomes thick and inflexible.


Furthermore, having heart disease can increase the chances that your condition will get worse. Heart disease can cause a heart attack, stroke, or other heart-related conditions such as congestive heart failure. Remember, knowledge is power. If you know and understand your risks for heart disease, you can take steps to improve your health.


Take action now to prevent heart disease by:

·         Knowing your family history and sharing it with your primary care doctor

·         Eating a healthy Mediterranean diet

·         Eating lots of fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, legumes, and wild-caught fish like salmon

·         Lowering your sodium intake (use salt-free options when cooking meals)

·         Maintaining a healthy weight

·         Exercising at least three times a week and include strength training (seek advice from your

doctor before starting a new exercise regimen)

·         Avoid smoking

·         Limiting alcohol

·         Getting regular adequate sleep

·         Getting regular health screenings and annual check-ups


One of the most important things you can do to protect your heart is to become familiar with the symptoms of a heart attack.

Warning signs of a heart attack can include:

·         A feeling of uncomfortable pressure in the center of your chest

·         Squeezing-like sensations in the center of your chest (this feeling can last for a few minutes,

go away, and come back)

·         Pain or numbness in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach

·         Sudden or frequent shortness of breath (with or without chest discomfort)

·         Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness

·         Feeling extreme fatigue like you want to take a nap

·         Shortness of breath, sudden jaw pain, nausea, and vomiting, which may feel like indigestion


Be well!



American Heart Association (AHA). (2022). Understand Your Risks to Prevent A Heart Attack. Retrieved from:


May Clinic. (2022). Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis. Retrieved from:



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