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Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the U.S. There are ways to reduce your risk, including maintaining a healthy weight, eating a wholesome diet, exercising regularly and avoiding tobacco use. But if you have certain other conditions — including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol or a strong family history of heart disease — you may be at a higher risk. The experts at UF Health Jacksonville will help you make changes to your lifestyle and manage other contributing conditions.
Heart disease: Risk factors
Heart disease can be caused by multiple risk factors, many of which can be controlled, such as:
- Alcohol abuse
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Physical inactivity
- Tobacco use or exposure
- Unhealthy diet
Our heart team experts can create an individualized plan for you to help control risk factors and reduce the possibility of developing heart disease.
Heart disease: Conditions
Generally, heart disease refers to a number of conditions related to narrowed or obstructed blood vessels, which can cause chest pain, heart attacks or stroke. Other conditions of heart disease are those that involve the heart rhythms, muscle tissue or valves.
- The most common cause of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, which is caused by the buildup of fatty substances (plaque) in your arteries. When this buildup is on the coronary arteries leading into the heart, it's called coronary artery disease.
- Having an arrhythmia - an abnormal heartbeat - can also put you at a high risk for heart disease.
- Certain types of congenital (present at birth) heart defects can also put you at risk for developing heart disease as an adult.
- Having an infection can raise your risk of developing heart disease.
- Valvular heart disease (damage or defect to the heart valves) can also put you at risk.
Minimizing the risk of developing these conditions — or carefully managing these conditions if you already have them — is key to reducing the risk for heart disease. The heart team experts at UF Health Jacksonville can help you better understand your individual risk for these conditions and provide expert treatment when necessary.
Heart disease: Lifestyle modifications
There are several lifestyle modifications you can make:
- Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, and low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium
- Maintaining a healthy weight and losing weight
- Consuming alcohol in moderation
- Quitting smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Exercising regularly
UF Health heart experts take a whole-person approach to maintain a healthy life and a healthy heart.
Why choose UF Health Jacksonville?
The heart team experts of the UF Health Cardiovascular Center in Jacksonville research, teach and perfect advanced care options for your heart. As the region’s leader in cardiovascular diagnosis and treatment, our specialists are able to provide more treatment alternatives than other facilities, which in many cases means better outcomes for our patients. As part of the region’s leading academic health center, UF Health is committed to staying on the leading edge of advancements in cardiovascular treatment and research.
Accredited Chest Pain Center
UF Health Jacksonville is an American College of Cardiology-accredited Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation, their highest designation available.
Related conditions & treatments
Clinical Trials: Heart disease
UF Health research scientists make medicine better every day. They discover new ways to help people by running clinical trials. When you join a clinical trial, you can get advanced medical care. Sometimes years before it's available everywhere. You can also help make medicine better for everyone else. If you'd like to learn more about clinical trials, visit our clinical trials page. Or click one of the links below:
News and Patient Stories: Heart disease
A college student with heart disease changes his career path after arrhythmia scare.
February 7, 2022
Learn the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack.