Heart disease is a common issue in the United States. According to medical experts, heart disease is the leading cause of death for individuals of all genders. There are many different types of heart disease, but the most common is coronary artery disease. This happens when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This can lead to a heart attack. Other types of heart disease include arrhythmia, heart failure, and cardiomyopathy. There are some things that can increase your likelihood of experiencing heart problems, which you should be aware of. If you want to learn more, keep reading to find out about the risk factors for heart disease.
What are the risk factors for heart disease?
Before we discuss the specific risk factors associated with heart disease, you should know what you can do to prevent it. If you want to reduce your likelihood of developing heart disease, you should have regular check-ups with a cardiologist, like this one that specializes in Los Angeles cardiology. A cardiologist can identify any risks you may have for heart disease and recommend strategies to reduce your risk. Your cardiologist will be able to provide you with a personalized plan that will allow you to stay healthy for years to come.
There are many risk factors for heart disease, but high cholesterol levels are one of the most common. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in the blood and is necessary for the body to function. However, when there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it can build up on the walls of arteries and restrict blood flow. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Your gender affects your risk level too. Women tend to be at higher risk for strokes, while men develop cardiovascular disease at a younger age and get coronary artery disease more frequently than women.
Your age and family history play a role as well, with older individuals and those with a family history of heart disease have elevated risk. Some factors can be controlled (like high blood pressure and cholesterol), while others cannot (like age and family history). It’s crucial to know your risk factors and talk to your doctor about how you can reduce your odds of developing heart disease.
How can you protect your heart health?
Now that you understand what can affect your risk of developing heart disease, let’s discuss what you can do to protect your heart. For example, did you know lack of sleep can have a significant effect on your heart health? When you’re tired, your body releases more stress hormones, like cortisol. These hormones can raise blood pressure and make your heart work harder. Additionally, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity and diabetes, both of which can contribute to heart disease. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about finding a solution.
Maintaining a heart-healthy diet should be a priority as well. No matter which specific diet you follow, the most important thing is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods are high in fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients that are good for your heart. Be sure to also include plenty of whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats in your diet. Avoid foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. These foods can increase your risk of heart disease. Instead, choose foods that are low in these types of unhealthy fats.
As you can see, there are many factors that can contribute to your risk of developing heart problems, including heart disease. Some of the factors, such as age and family history, are unavoidable, but others, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, can be managed through lifestyle changes. Some steps that you should take include prioritizing sleep health and switching to a heart-healthy diet. You can talk to a cardiologist if you have any questions about what you need to do for your heart health or think you may have a heart problem. Follow this advice and you can trust that you’re taking the best possible care of your heart.