For many, there is a misconception that there is not much that can be done to prevent heart disease. While it is true that heart disease is common, it is also true that the chances of developing heart disease can be reduced by learning about ways to keep your heart healthy. There are a lot of ways to keep your heart in great shape. All of these include healthy life choices to decrease the risk factors of the disease. Understanding these risk factors is essential in preventing them.
Key Heart Disease Risk Factors
High blood pressure: Many people go for years without realizing they have high blood pressure. They are unknowingly at risk for a heart attack because high blood pressure can result in hardening and thickening of your arteries, which narrows the vessels your blood flows through. Know your blood pressure readings; have your blood pressure checked during your next routine medical check-up.
High cholesterol: High cholesterol greatly increases your risk for heart disease. Make sure that you request to have yours checked, especially if high cholesterol runs in your family.
Family History: A family history of heart disease can increase your risk as well, especially if a parent developed heart disease at an early age. It is best to learn about your family history as soon as possible to see if you are at risk for any of the factors that can lead to heart disease.
Diabetes: Many people may not know that there’s a link between diabetes and heart disease. If you’re a diabetic you’re twice as likely to develop the disease because your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should.
Smoking: Smoking not only affects your lungs but causes high blood pressure, depletes oxygen going to the heart, damages your blood vessels, and increases the likelihood of developing blood clots.
Healthy Tactics to Protect Against Heart Disease
There are many effective lifestyle changes that can both improve your health and help decrease the chances of developing heart disease. These include:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Avoiding cigarettes and excess alcohol
- Getting moderate daily exercise
- Eating a well-balanced diet, low in sodium and saturated fats
- Receiving regular medical checkups
- Getting encouragement from family and friends to stick with the changes
Because heart disease affects so many adults nationwide, it is important to know the risk factors. Knowing these factors can help a person map out ways to reduce the chances of developing a heart disease. If you are even remotely concerned, follow the tips above and consider scheduling a check-up with a doctor to determine if you may be at risk.