Heart health is an important topic but not one that many people discuss with friends and family. At least not until it becomes necessary. Our motto is that prevention is the best medicine; and where does prevention start but with awareness? When it comes to heart disease, it is easy to fall into the mindset that the problem is entirely hereditary. If you have a family history of heart disease, you are at risk. If you don’t, you aren’t. It’s not that simple. Here, we want to discuss the various factors that may contribute to the onset of heart disease.
Risk Factors Of Heart Disease
While research does point to hereditary factors as significant in the risk of heart disease, there is also evidence that controllable factors may be just as integral to the overall chance that a person may develop heart problems. This is good news for every adult, whether or not they are aware of their family history. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Diet and nutrition
- Lack of physical activity
What is interesting about the controllable risk factors for heart disease is that many of them are interrelated. We’ll break down a few here.
Weight is a significant contributing factor to the development of type 2 diabetes. Both weight and diabetes can lead to high blood pressure and a risk of stroke and heart disease. Each of these factors can be managed with a focus on healthy nutrition and regular physical exercise to reduce weight. Weight loss takes the pressure off of the internal organs, joints, and cardiovascular system so circulation flows more smoothly and efficiently. There are several resources that can help people manage their weight, many of which are designed to avoid feelings of deprivation that can make dieting so difficult.
High Blood Pressure & Cholesterol
It can be easy to think that high blood pressure and cholesterol are related only to a person’s weight. If you look relatively thin and wouldn’t consider yourself obese, you may believe that you cannot develop high blood pressure or cholesterol. This is a myth. These conditions may affect just about anyone and are usually intrinsically tied to diet. High cholesterol occurs when there are too many fatty substances in the blood. High blood pressure occurs when there is too much exertion being placed on the walls of arteries. To reduce both, it is necessary to look at how many high-salt, high-fat foods you are consuming. Reducing these and reaching for more lean protein and fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as moving the body more, can do a lot to lower your cardiac risks.
Alcohol & Tobacco
Some of the habits that feel enjoyable to us may not be good for us in the end. Multiple studies indicate that smoking and drinking alcohol can double the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Alcohol consumption contributes to weight gain by adding excess calories into the body. Both alcohol consumption and smoking stress the body by increasing cholesterol and blood pressure levels. If you drink alcohol, keep it to one a day, one serving being different based on the type of alcohol you consume. For example, if you love wine, refrain from consuming more than a 5-ounce glass a day. Smoking can be a difficult habit to quit and may require some assistance. If you are ready to quit smoking, talk to your doctor about options to assist with this goal.
Heart health is an important matter and one that a doctor or cardiologist can help you manage well. Summit Health Care in Show Low, AZ has a comprehensive cardiology department staffed with experienced, friendly doctors and nurses. Contact us today at 928-537-6700 to schedule your visit.