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Forrest General is accredited by DNV Healthcare

Minimizing Your Risk
Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms | Heart Disease & Stroke Statistics | Peripheral Vascular Disease Signs and Symptoms | Minimizing Your Risk | Women and Heart Disease

What You Can Do on Your Own:

  • Don't use tobacco - It's the number one preventable cause of serious illness such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and emphysema.
  • Be physically active - It can build endurance, control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, aid in weight control and reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
  • Eat healthy foods - Foods high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol contribute to atherosclerosis, a primary cause of heart attack and stroke. Consuming too much salt (sodium) can cause high blood pressure in some people.
  • Watch your weight - Obesity is a major risk factor.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol - One or two drinks a day may help increase "good" HDL cholesterol, but heavy drinking can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

What You Can Do With Your Doctor's Help:

  • Have regular checkups - A doctor can pinpoint major risk factors such as smoking, elevated cholesterol or blood pressure, excess weight and diabetes.
  • Control your cholesterol - A simple blood test can show your blood cholesterol level. If it's too high, dietary changes, exercise, weight loss, and/or drug therapy can bring it down to a safer level.
  • Keep tabs on your blood pressure - Even if it's less than 120/80 mm Hg, have it checked at least every two years. If it's 120/80 or above, have it checked more often, according to your doctor's recommendations.
  • Keep diabetes in check - Your doctor can detect diabetes or a pre-diabetic condition and prescribe a program to minimize the risk.

Risks You Can't Control:

  • Age - The risk gradually increases as people age, but this doesn't mean that younger people are immune. Advanced age significantly raises the risk of heart attacks or strokes.
  • Sex - Before menopause, women have a much lower death rate from coronary attack than men. Women's risk rises sharply after menopause, but it still remains lower than men's in the same age group. Each year more women than men have a stroke.
  • Heredity - Some families have a higher-than-normal genetic risk of heart attack and stroke. African Americans are more likely than Caucasians to have high blood pressure, and they tend to have strokes earlier in life and with more severe results.


Forrest General is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by DNV Healthcare, Inc.

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