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Health Information for the Public

What You Need To Know About Heart Disease

Your Choice for Change - Honoring the Gift of Heart Health for American Indians

Section One - Knowledge Is Power: Know Your Risk for Heart Disease

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease develops over many years. It happens when the blood vessels going to the heart become narrow and clogged. Clogged arteries increase the risk of developing heart disease.

A normal artery and a clogged artery

What Are Risk Factors?

Risk factors are traits and habits that make you more likely to develop heart disease. There are some risk factors that you can do something about and others you cannot change. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing heart disease.

Will Wisdom

Will: "My doctor told me that I was overweight. I also have diabetes and high blood pressure. He said that being overweight, diabetic, and having high blood pressure increase my risk for heart disease. Also, my father died of a stroke because of high blood pressure. Now that I know my risk factors, I take steps to lower my risk."

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Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
NIH Publication No. 08-6340
June 2008

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