You probably know someone -in your family or among your friends - who
has had a heart attack or a stroke (a brain attack). These cardiovascular
diseases - diseases of the heart and the blood vessels - are killing more and
more people around the world, striking rich and poor alike.
Those who survive a heart attack or stroke often need to take long-term
If you have ever had a heart attack or stroke, or had to care for someone
who has, you will know that these diseases can seriously affect the life of
both the patient and his or her family. The effects can even reach beyond the
family to the community.
Yet so many heart attacks and strokes could be prevented. That is why you
should read this booklet.
This booklet explains why heart attacks and strokes happen and how you
can avoid them. It tells you what you should do to avoid becoming a victim.
It gives you guidance for your children too. A lot of the damage to the blood
vessels starts at a young age. Children often need help to develop healthy
habits, like eating a balanced diet and being active.
If you are at high risk, there is advice on the signs to look out for and what
you can do to reduce your risk. If you have already had a heart attack or
stroke, there is advice on how your condition can be treated and controlled,
and how you can improve your quality of life.
Following the advice in this booklet may mean changing your habits and
routines, and that is often not easy. It helps to get lots of encouragement and
support from your friends and family, and from your health care team. This
booklet is not meant to take the place of your doctor, but by reading it, you
are taking a positive step towards better health.
1. Heart attacks and strokes are major killers in all parts of the
world. But they can often be prevented.
2. You can protect yourself from heart attacks and strokes by
investing a little time and effort.
3. Tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity increase
the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
4. Stopping tobacco use reduces the chance of a heart attack
or stroke from the moment you stop.
5. Engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes on
most days of the week will help to keep away heart attacks
6. Eating at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and
limiting your salt intake to less than one teaspoon a day,
can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
7. High blood pressure has no symptoms, but can cause a
sudden stroke or heart attack. Have your blood pressure
8. Diabetes increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. If
you have diabetes, control your blood pressure and blood
sugar to minimize your risk.
9. Being overweight increases the risk of heart attacks and
strokes. To maintain an ideal body weight, take regular
physical activity and eat a healthy diet.
10. Heart attacks and strokes can strike suddenly and can be
fatal if assistance is not sought immediately.