In 2003, cardiovascular disease was listed as the reason for admission in more than 6 million hospitalizations. Many factors increase a person's risk for developing heart disease; some of them can be controlled. These are called modifiable risk factors.
One in every five deaths due to heart disease is caused by smoking. According to Pam Peitz, manager of Washington County Hospital's Cardiac Rehab and Congestive Heart Failure programs, quitting smoking greatly reduces one's risk of heart disease.
Having high blood cholesterol also increases the risk of heart disease. This can be controlled by eating a diet low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber. In addition to diet, some people will need medication to help control their blood cholesterol.
High blood pressure also contributes to heart disease and many people do not even know they have high blood pressure. It is important to be screened for high blood pressure and treat it with medication if needed.