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  • Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and is responsible for 1 out of every 3 deaths?1
  • 94% of U.S. adults have at least 1 risk factor for developing heart disease.1

Heart disease is killing more Americans than ever before, often with no warning. For many people, sudden death is the first symptom.2 But there’s good news.

Simple lifestyle changes can help prevent heart disease. While some risk factors — such as age, gender and heredity — can’t be changed, we can change those related to the way we live and the choices we make every day.

Know your numbers

You can learn a lot about your heart with a few simple numbers. When you know what numbers indicate a strong, healthy heart, you can set goals that reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. The chart below shows which numbers are important and what goals you need to reach to keep your heart healthy and strong.

Important numbers for a healthy heartGoal
Total CholesterolLess than 200 mg/dL
LDL (“Bad”) CholesterolLess than 100 mg/dL
HDL (“Good”) Cholesterol
• Women
• Men

50 mg/dL or higher
40 mg/dL or higher
TriglyceridesLess than 150 mg/dL
Blood PressureLess than 120/80 mmHg
Fasting GlucoseLess than 100 mg/dL
Body Mass Index (BMI)Less than 25
Waist Circumference
• Women
• Men

35 inches or less
40 inches or less
Physical ActivityAt least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week


At least 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week


Strength training activity at least 2 days per week

1Go, A. S., et al. AHA statistical update: Heart disease and stroke statistics—2013 update: A report from the American Heart Association, Circulation [article online]. December 12, 2012; 127: e6-e245. Available at Accessed July 9, 2013.

2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease facts.
Available at Accessed July 9, 2013.