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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Heart Disease: Prevention & Expectations
      Category : Health Centers > Coronary Artery Disease

Heart Disease

Alternate Names : Cardiac Disease

Heart Disease | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the disease?

Prevention of heart disease is related to its cause. Heart disease caused by atherosclerosis can be prevented by not smoking and by controlling high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol. Avoidance of alcohol could prevent cases due to this cause. Maintaining a healthy body weight, including physical activity in everyday life, and eating a diet designed to minimize heart disease can help decrease heart disease risk.

The American Heart Association recently issued recommendations about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in women. For women who have already had a heart attack or have heart disease, it appears that HRT does not protect against having another heart attack or dying from heart disease. The studies that support this information were done with women over 65 years of age. It is unclear if this information also holds true for younger postmenopausal women who take HRT.

For women who have not already had a heart attack or who do not have heart disease, HRT should not be started for the sole purpose of preventing heart disease. The research is not strong enough to support doing that at this time. Also, it is not necessary for a woman to stop HRT if she is doing well on it.

Overall, the decision to use HRT should be based upon the proven benefits and risks of HRT. Women should discuss the benefits and risks with their healthcare provider. Together, they can choose the most appropriate course of action.

What are the long-term effects of the disease?

Long-term effects depend on the type, severity, and cause of heart disease. Heart attacks and congestive heart failure are common causes of death in the United States. Heart infections may go away completely after treatment and have no long-term effects. In other cases, they may cause permanent damage to the heart or even death.

What are the risks to others?

Heart disease is not contagious. Some inherited causes of heart disease can be passed on to one's children. If the underlying cause is an infection, the infection may be contagious.

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Heart Disease: Diagnosis & Tests


Heart Disease: Treatment & Monitoring

Author: Adam Brochert, MD
Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
Date Reviewed: 08/08/01

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