Unfortunately, heart disease is among the top causes of death in the United States. The condition can take many forms, which include coronary heart disease, heart failure, and heart attack. While anyone is prone to developing the condition, certain risk factors can predispose individuals to a greater chance of developing heart disease.
Smoking is perhaps the most well-known and significant risk factor for heart disease. First, cigarette smoke contains chemicals that cause the cells that line the arteries to become damaged and inflamed. This damage narrows the blood vessels and makes you susceptible to various heart diseases.
For instance, smokers are more susceptible to coronary heart disease due to plaque buildup in the coronary arteries. Again, the plaque buildup may block blood flow to the heart, which increases the risk of a heart attack in smokers.
Overweight or Obesity
Being overweight or obese results from high cholesterol levels, which may cause artery damage and lead to heart disease. Additionally, the excess weight may put extra strain on your heart, which puts you at risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. To lower your risk of heart disease, strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle by watching what you eat.
High Blood Pressure
Normal blood pressure entails the systolic (the top number) that reads less than 120 and the diastolic (the bottom number) that reads less than 80. For example, if you have a systolic reading between 120 and 139, or a diastolic reading between 80 and 89, you have elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure is diagnosed when your systolic reading is 140 or higher or your diastolic reading is 90 or higher.
If you have high blood pressure, you can lower your numbers. For example, adopt a healthy diet, exercise, and maintain a healthy weight.
If you have a family member with heart disease, you may be at a higher risk of developing the condition since some types of heart disease are hereditary. For example, diabetes and obesity are two risk factors for heart disease that can be passed down genetically. If you have a family member with heart disease, talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower your risk.
As you age, your risk of developing heart disease increases. The reason is that the arteries tend to harden and narrow as you age. The risk of developing other conditions that lead to heart diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, also increases with age. Older, postmenopausal women, to be precise, are at high risk of heart diseases.
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease. People who don’t get enough physical activity are at a much higher risk for developing heart disease than those who are active.
Physical activity helps to strengthen the heart muscles and keeps the heart functioning optimally. Additionally, physical activity helps burn calories, enabling you to maintain a healthy weight and lower the risks of high blood pressure and diabetes.
Take steps to lower your risk of heart disease. For instance, if you are a smoker, talk to your doctor about what you can do to quit smoking. If you lead a sedentary life, start to exercise. And if your weight is a problem, exercise and watch what you eat.
Cardio Vascular Institute is your trusted heart health specialist. We can advise you on how to keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of developing heart disease. Also, if you or your loved one has signs of cardiovascular disease, we are here to diagnose and offer timely treatment. Contact us today to book an appointment.