Worried About Cancer? Think of Your Heart

Cancer ranks highest on the list of health concerns for many baby boomers. But in reality, heart disease is the biggest killer in the United States.

According to a new poll by AP-LifeGoesStrong.com, cancer was the disease that people were most afraid of, followed by memory loss, heart problems, diabetes and stroke. The survey included 1,078 baby boomers.

Statistics show a different picture: Heart disease – often linked to obesity – kills more than 616,000 Americans every year. Cancer is responsible for about 563,000 deaths, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Perhaps people are more afraid of cancer because it’s obvious when someone is going through chemotherapy. When someone struggles with heart disease, the disease is sometimes less noticeable.

But the risk of heart disease for most people is much greater than cancer. For example, a woman’s risk of getting coronary heart disease is one in three. For breast cancer, it is one in eight.

To keep your heart healthy, federal health officials recommend quitting smoking,  maintaining an ideal body weight and getting regular exercise. People should keep their blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check as well. If you drink, women should have no more than one drink per day. For men, it is two drinks.

Source: AP-LifeGoesStrong.com, National Center for Health Statistics

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