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Cardiovascular Disease

What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease refers to conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. Damage to the lining of the blood vessels caused by smoking, high blood pressure or high blood sugar can allow the bad cholesterol to seep into the artery wall. The blood vessels can begin to narrow due to plaque buildup in the artery wall, which can rupture and cause a heart attack.
Symptoms of a heart attack may include chest pain and pressure, pain in the jaw and neck, shortness of breath, nausea and cold sweats. A heart attack is an emergency. Call 911 as soon as you experience heart attack symptoms. After 60 minutes without blood flow, the heart can be damaged irreversibly.

How common is cardiovascular disease?

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the U.S., resulting in 25 percent of all deaths among men annually. Most sudden cardiac deaths (70 to 89 percent) occur in men. Half of the men who die from a sudden cardiac event had no previous symptoms of heart disease.
Risk FactorYes*NoI do not
know
I am a smoker.
I eat a diet high in saturated and trans fat.
I eat a diet low in omega-3 fat.
I eat a diet low in fiber.
My total cholesterol is above 200.
My LDL level is above 100.
My HDL level is below 40.
My body mass index (BMI) is over 25.
I have high blood pressure.
* The greater the number of yes answers, the greater your risk of cardiovascular disease. If you do not know, be sure to check with a health-care provider for the appropriate testing.

Recipes

These recipes were selected because many of their ingredients are associated with reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Fresh Cilantro Herbed Hummus
Fresh Cilantro Herbed Hummus

Fresh Herbed Salmon Packets
Fresh Herbed Salmon Packets

Omega-3 Power Bites
Omega-3 Power Bites

Find out more

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Rachel Reuther, Dietetic Intern

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