Heart disease kills more men and women each year than any other illness. Heart disease develops from the build-up of plaque (cholesterol and other material) in your heart's blood vessels. This disease process is called atherosclerosis. It can lead to a heart attack, stroke, and other serious health problems.
You won't necessarily know if you have heart disease until it has progressed a fair amount. Nonetheless, you should be aware of your risk factors and try to control them. If you do have risk factors, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your chances of developing serious problems.
Before starting, you should gather the following information, if you have it:
However, you can still benefit from this assessment, even if you don't have this information.
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|Reviewed By:||Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.|
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