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Jan. 27, 2010

DHEC urges healthy habits to reduce risk for heart attack and stroke

COLUMBIA, S.C. - February is American Heart Month and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is urging South Carolinians to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that can help reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke.

“Heart disease is South Carolina’s leading killer for both men and women among all racial and ethnic groups,” said Joy Brooks, director of DHEC’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Division. “During 2007, 8,983 South Carolinians died from heart disease, and 2,460 of our state’s citizens died of stroke.”

Brooks said better lifestyle habits, such as making healthy food choices, lowering sodium intake and making physical activity a part of your daily routine can reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke.

“Consumption of excess dietary sodium contributes to excessive levels of high blood pressure, and premature deaths from heart attack and stroke,” Brooks said. “The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that reducing the average sodium intake to 2,300 mg/day might reduce cases of high blood pressure by 11 million and save $18 billion in health care costs.”

According to Brooks, one out of every three adults in South Carolina has high blood pressure, and people with high blood pressure have three to four times the risk of developing heart disease than those without high blood pressure.

DHEC works with community partners and health care systems to improve the cardiovascular health and quality of life of South Carolinians through the prevention, detection and treatment of risk factors; early identification and treatment of cardiovascular diseases; and prevention of recurrent cardiovascular events.

For more information, visit DHEC’s Web site at:


For more information:
Betsy Crick - (803) 545-4496
E-mail -
Adam Myrick - (803) 898-3884
E-mail -