Rush Medical Center Home Page Information for healthcare Professionals Rush University

Bookmark This Page
Health Information Discover Rush Spring 2008 Heart Disease

Heart Disease: It Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Call it “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” syndrome.

It’s a condition commonly experienced by people who have preventable heart problems. And according to Michele Bailey, DO, an internal medicine physician at Rush University Medical Center, this attitude is common among people who have heart attacks, many of whom are even surprised to learn they have heart disease.

They didn’t see it coming, some say. And often, they’ll regret that they didn’t do more to protect themselves.

Although it might seem to sneak up on some people, heart disease takes time to develop, and it can be influenced by both lifestyle and existing health problems.

“A lot of people think it’s just genetics and there’s nothing they can do, ” Bailey says. “But you can definitely help yourself. ”

Start by considering the following risk factors:

  • Smoking.

    If you smoke, the sooner you kick the habit, the better. Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States, and it’s not all due to lung disease. People who smoke are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t smoke. It raises blood pressure, makes blood more likely to form clots and lowers artery-clearing good cholesterol.
  • Having diabetes.

    Heart disease is the main cause of diabetes-related deaths. Over time, high blood sugar levels lead to increased fat deposits on blood vessel walls. These deposits may clog the vessels and eventually cause a heart attack.
  • Being overweight.

    If you’re overweight, you are at risk for diabetes. Excess fat interferes with your muscles’ ability to use insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. This is known as insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
  • Having high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

    If you haven’t had these checked, it’s time. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder and causes it to become enlarged. High cholesterol levels can cause plaque buildup in your arteries.


Don’t let heart disease sneak up on you. Call (888) 352-RUSH (7874) to receive a referral for a physician.

Take a free, confidential, online health assessment at and receive a personalized health action plan.



Heart and Cardiovascular Care at
Rush University Medical Center

At Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, researchers and nurse specialists work in teams to address the full scope of heart problems, whether common or complex.

Working in state-of-the art facilities, using some of the world’s most sophisticated technology, these experts are on the leading edge of diagnosis, treatment and discovery. From preventive measures to heart transplantation, they are helping to revolutionize heart care.

For more information about cardiovascular services at Rush visit our Heart & Vascular Programs home page.

Looking for Other Health Information?

Visit Discover Rush’s Web Resource page to find articles on health topics and recent health news from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. You will also find many helpful links to other areas of our site.

Looking for a Doctor?

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, is a leader in caring for people of all ages, from newborns through older adults.

Just phone (888) 352-RUSH or (888) 352-7874 for help finding the Rush doctor who’s right for you.



Clinical Trials

Looking for Information About Clinical Trials at Rush for Heart Conditions?

Looking for Information About Clinical Trials at Rush for Other Disorders?


Promotional Information

Past Issues
Discover Rush, 2008 - Spring
Discover Rush Spring 2008 Heart Disease

Related Topics
Find a Doctor | Patient & Visitor Services | Health Information
Clinical Services | Events & Classes | Rush News Room | Clinical Trials
Research At Rush
Disclaimer | Privacy Statement | Site Map

© Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois