Heart disease remains the number one cause of deaths in the US, and you can’t put all the blame for this on your family history or French fries. There are a number of powerful factors and some of the not so obvious, that significantly raises your risk for the heart problems and even causes a heart attack. MD, FAAC, cardiologist with Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, Geetha Pinto warns that you should really know your heart disease risk factors so that you can know what you can change. Also know your cholesterol numbers, blood pressure and if you are diabetic. According to the National Institutes of Health, “even people who have one risk factor can double their chances of heart attack and those who have several risk factors can multiply their risk tenfold.”
Know What You Can’t Change
You should be aware of certain heart disease risk factors that you cannot change such as gender, age. Since majority of people who die of heart disease are 65 years and older. Younger men are at greatest risk of heart attack than women. Women’s risk of heart disease increases after menopause.
Family history and race are some major heart disease risk factors. If your parents had heart disease, then your risk too increases. Heart disease risk is also higher for African-Americans, native Americans, Mexican-Americans and native Americans.
Get Serious About What You Can Change
Take action to minimize your risk of heart trouble that are within your control. As per Khanh Nguyen, MD, a family physician with Adventist HealthCare, “you can change or modify most of the heart disease risk factors, including those related to high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes.”
Generally, diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Nguyen warns that “diabetes is a coronary equivalent and therefore if you have diabetes, we manage your care aggressively as if you have had a prior heart attack.”
Hypertension or high blood pressure and high cholesterol puts a person at increased risk for heart disease. The high blood pressure increases the heart’s workload, thereby causes the thickening and stiffening of the heart muscles and hence it cannot work properly. When too much LDL cholesterol builds up in the arteries, it leads to clot formation and blocked arteries causes heart attacks.
Excess body fat, especially around the waist also puts you at heart disease risk. Also, inactivity puts you at great risks of heart diseases as a sedentary lifestyle tends to go hand in hand with diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol that leads to heart diseases. Smoking changes cholesterol by making it very sticky, which is then predisposed to clot formation, cancer and other diseases. Also, smoking may increase your blood pressure.
Not So Obvious Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Other not so obvious risk factors for the heart disease include sleep apnea that contributes to hypertension, which in turn lead to heart diseases. People with sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during the night. Luckily, this condition is treatable.
Energy drinks can be dangerous for some people who already have weak hearts. Though these drinks boosts your energy levels they also stimulate your heart thereby make it beat faster by constricting the blood vessels which raises the blood pressure.
Mental health can play a vital role in your heart health since stress causes the blood pressure to go up thereby makes your heart work faster.
Now that we have gone through some of the heart disease risk factors, it is important to identify them and modify your lifestyle accordingly. Eat nutritious food, do exercises daily and make smart choices to keep your heart healthy throughout your life. Consult the best physician to assist you in making healthy choices to prevent the heart disease risk factors.
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