DANBURY, CT - Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the United States for both men and women, and so most families will know of a family member with a history of heart attack. “Heart disease or the presence of plaque in the coronary arteries is more likely to occur with certain risk factors such as increasing age, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and having a sedentary lifestyle,” said Dr. Susan Mani, Western Connecticut Medical Group Cardiologist and director of the Women's Cardiac Program at Danbury Hospital.
According to Dr. Mani, having a family history of heart disease is only considered a significant risk factor if the heart disease occurred prematurely in a first-degree relative. “For example, premature heart disease is considered a male first degree relative (father or brother) with their diagnosis of coronary disease before age 55 or female first degree relative (mother or sister) with their diagnosis of coronary disease before age 65,” noted Dr. Mani.
“If you were diagnosed with heart disease make your children or your children’s pediatrician aware of the age of your diagnosis since that may have an impact on how and when some of your child’s risk factors, such as their cholesterol, are treated,” added Dr. Mani. “Most heart disease is preventable and so the approach continues to be evaluation and management of risk factors - with a healthy diet, consistent exercise and quitting smoking.”
It’s never too late to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Incorporating positive behavioral and lifestyle changes is also beneficial to children since they are more likely to follow your lead and help reduce their own risk in the long run.
For more information regarding cardiac programs and services, go to HTTP://DANBURYHEART.ORG, or call 1-800-516-4743.