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Focus on Heart Disease

The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which can cause a heart attack.  According to Delaware Vital Statistics Annual Report 2014, heart disease is ranked the 2nd leading cause of death in Delaware.[2] There are risk factors you can’t control, such as age, ethnicity, and family history; however, there are things you can control to lower your risk of developing heart disease.

Create a diet with healthy meals that are low in cholesterol, trans-fats, and saturated fats. Consume fewer sugary beverages and processed foods, and more fruits and veggies. Follow these guidelinesto maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for developing not only high blood pressure, also known as hypertension but also other chronic diseases, even cancer. Living a healthy lifestyle can help lower your risk. Get one or more hours of physical activity each day. Map out gyms and parks in your community to increase your physical activity

Smoking is known to increase the risk for coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times.[3] Secondhand smoke is also dangerous to your health and can cause coronary heart disease.  Everyone knows that it can be a struggle to quit smoking, but getting help can triple your chances of success.  If you or a loved one smoke, there are three ways Delawareans can participate in the Delaware Tobacco Prevention and Control Program’s Cessation services.

Over 255,000 Delaware adults suffer from high blood pressure.[4] About 1 of 3 U.S. adults—or about 75 million people—have high blood pressure.[5] Only about half (54%) of these people have their high blood pressure under control.[6] High blood pressure is one of the main reasons people develop heart disease. There are no visible symptoms of high blood pressure,[7] are you aware of this silent killer?

If you haven’t had your blood pressure checked recently, do so. If your health care provider has told you that your blood pressure is 140/90, then you may have Stage 1 Hypertension – high blood pressure.  Start self-monitoring your blood pressure today by making simple lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, reducing salt intake, and reducing the use of caffeine.  You can also enroll in a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.  This program is offered for free through the Delaware Division of Public Health.  Enroll today by calling 302-744-1020.  

Learn more about things you can do to prevent or lessen your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.  


[1] Source: Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS),  2015

[2] Source:  Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Delaware Vital Statistics Annual Report 2014,  http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/hp/2014.html

[3] Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2015 Oct 5].

[4] Source: Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS), 2011, 2013, 2015

[5] Source: Merai R, Siegel C, Rakotz M, Basch P, Wright J, Wong B; DHSc., Thorpe P. CDC Grand Rounds: A Public Health Approach to Detect and Control Hypertension. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016 Nov 18;65(45):1261-1264

[6] Source: Merai R, Siegel C, Rakotz M, Basch P, Wright J, Wong B; DHSc., Thorpe P. CDC Grand Rounds: A Public Health Approach to Detect and Control Hypertension. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016 Nov 18;65(45):1261-1264

[7] Source: Nwankwo T, Yoon SS, Burt V, Gu Q. [Accessed October 24, 2014]; Hypertension among adults in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011–2012. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db133.pdfhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4596255/#R1.

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