Heart disease remains the leading killer of people in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Haitham Dib, the medical director and associate director of cardiology at the AtlantiCare Physician Group in Galloway, says heart disease can strike anyone with 1 in 3 Americans affected by heart disease.

"About 83 million Americans have one or more form of cardiovascular disease and unfortunately, also each day, more than 2,000 lives are lost," he said. 

The CDC says about 647,000 American die annually from heart disease, 1 in every 4 deaths.

Coronary heart disease is a common term for the buildup of plaque in the heart's arteries than can lead to a heart attack. Approximately 805,000 Americans have a heart attack each year.

About 1 in 5 heart attacks are silent, with the person not even aware that they have been hit with one.

Dib says the good news is that "prevention is still our No. 1 goal because 80% of cardiovascular disease can be preventable. So if we take these steps in modifying our risk factors, that's more than half the battle."

Prevention includes monitoring your blood pressure, weight, cholesterol and blood sugar.

"Many risk factors for heart disease are preventable. So, for example, high blood pressure, elevated bad cholesterol, diabetes, poor diet, physical inactivity, and being overweight or obese — all of them are risk factors for heart disease. But they're all preventable."

Dib says doctors advise people to know their numbers for blood pressure, weight, cholesterol and blood sugar.

"Talk to your physician, talk to your care provider about your health, about your symptoms, even if you're having atypical symptoms," he said.

Thirty minutes of physical activity "is very helpful," he said, as is quitting smoking.

Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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