Heart Disease, Stroke Risk Can Be Controlled By Practicing Healthy Behaviors

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Eighty-eight percent of Americans over the age 65 have at least one chronic health condition such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, which can be controlled by making healthy lifestyle changes. About 40 percent of deaths in the nation can be attributed to smoking, lack of physical activity, poor diet or the misuse of alcohol. By adopting healthy behaviors such as eating a healthy diet, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and avoiding tobacco use, a person can prevent or control the effects of many chronic diseases. During American Heart Month in February, the Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services (DAS) is urging older adults and others to practice healthy behaviors and learn the signs of a heart attack and stroke.

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"Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States with strokes as the third leading cause. To help reduce the risk of a heart attack and stroke, individuals should get familiar with the warning signs and practice healthy behaviors," said Maria Greene, Director of DAS.

There are an estimated 80.7 million Americans with one or more types of cardiovascular disease. Of these, 38.2 million are estimated to be age 60 or older, according to the American Heart Association's Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2008 Update. The prevalence of strokes in 2005 for adults age 20 and older was estimated at 5.8 million. About 780,000 people in the United States experience a new or recurrent stroke each year. Of these, 600,000 are first time strokes, and 180,000 are recurrences in people who have already had one.

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