Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accounting for about 25 percent of all deaths in the country.\nIf you have a family history of heart disease, there\u2019s a greater chance that you\u2019ll also have cardiovascular issues\nThe American Heart Association (AHA) reports that certain ethnic groups are at increased risk for conditions that lead to cardiovascular disease. African Americans have the highest rate of high blood pressure in the world and a high rate of diabetes. The AHA also \u00a0estimates that one in three Hispanic adults have high blood pressure, and about half suffer from high cholesterol. Knowing these statistics can help you better understand your own risks.\nHeart Disease in Families: What Should You Discuss with Your Doctor?\n\n\n\nTell your doctor if your family \u2014 especially grandparents, parents, or siblings \u2014 has or had heart disease. A family history of cardiovascular disease is something that may warrant additional testing or monitoring.\nIt\u2019s also important to share your blood relatives\u2019 history of diabetes, high cholesterol, or other related conditions. However, these are risk factors \u2014 along with high blood pressure and obesity \u2014 that you can control.\nMaintaining Your Cardiovascular Health\nHeart disease can be hereditary in part, but behavior can modify your risk significantly. The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends taking these steps:\n\nQuit smoking: Using tobacco products increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and stroke.\nManage your blood pressure: High blood pressure puts you at greater risk for cardiovascular problems. Get your blood pressure checked at least once a year. If there\u2019s a problem, your doctor can recommend ways to lower it.\nWatch your cholesterol levels: Cholesterol can clog your arteries and cause coronary artery disease or heart attack. If you\u2019re unable to manage your cholesterol levels with diet and lifestyle changes, it can be controlled by medicines.\nControl your diabetes: If you have diabetes, your risk of heart disease doubles. Uncontrolled diabetes can damage your blood vessels and nerves. Maintaining proper blood sugar levels helps care for your heart.\nExercise regularly: What better way to strengthen your heart than by exercising? Cardio and strength training improve circulation and heart health, and help you maintain a healthy weight.\nConsider other lifestyle changes: By limiting your alcohol consumption, managing stress, and getting proper sleep, you\u2019ll help your heart support your whole body. These lifestyle factors can have a positive impact on your overall health.\nEat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight: Obesity and excess weight contribute to diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. A diet high in whole grains, vegetables and fruits\u2014 with less alcohol and fewer processed foods \u2014 is better for your body and your heart.\n\nSchedule regular visits with your doctor to make sure you\u2019re doing all you can to maintain your cardiac health.\nWarning Signs for Heart Attacks and Strokes\nHeart attacks and stroked are life-and-death emergencies where every second counts. I you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.\n\nCommon heart attack symptoms include chest discomfort \u2014 pressure, tightness, fullness, or pain \u2014 that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and returns You may also experience pain or discomfort in your arms, back, jaw, stomach, or neck, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include breaking out in a cold sweat, or feeling lightheaded or nauseated.\nStroke symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one wide of the body, plus difficulty walking and trouble speaking.