Almost 660,000 U.S. Americans die from heart disease every year making it the leading cause of death in the United States. That means one out of four men and/or women die from heart disease and though you are at greater risk as you age, anyone is susceptible to heart disease.
What Is Heart Disease
The heart is an organ that’s purpose is to pump blood all throughout the body so that it can receive necessary oxygen and nutrients. Heart disease prevents your heart from working properly leading to serious health issues like heart attacks.
Understanding What Places You At Greater Risk
High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is a condition that happens when the pressure of blood in your arteries and other blood vessels is too high. If it’s not managed it can affect your heart and other major organs like the kidneys and brain. The best way to monitor your blood pressure is by regularly taking your blood pressure with a manual or digital cuff which can be done at home. Because high blood pressure does not always reveal symptoms it’s important to check your blood pressure regularly to ensure it’s at a healthy level.
High Cholesterol Levels– Cholesterol is a fat-like substance produced by the liver but can also be found in certain foods. Every person’s body produces a level of cholesterol that is needed for the body to function properly. Unfortunately, it’s common for Americans to eat unhealthy food which in turn means they often get more cholesterol than what is needed. Extra cholesterol in the body can build up along the walls of arteries causing them to become narrow and limit the blood flow to every part of the body.
There are two types of cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein. LDL cholesterol is the unhealthy cholesterol that you want to limit in your body as it can cause plaque to build up. HDL can actually protect against heart disease when there are higher levels within your body.
Imbalance Of Glucose And Insulin– Insulin is a hormone that aids in moving sugars (glucose) from the foods you eat to your body’s cells which are then used for energy. Those with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin or their bodies have a hard time using insulin. For some, both of these occur in the body. When this happens glucose builds up in the blood causing a sugar spike and can lead to heart disease over time.
Obesity– Obesity is excess body fat. Obesity is linked to higher “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to lower “good” cholesterol levels. Obesity can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes as well as heart disease. Talk with your health care team about a plan to reduce your weight to a healthy level. Learn more about healthy weight.
11 Tips To A Healthy Heart
- Routine Physical Activity- Routine exercise aids in heart disease prevention
- Healthy Weight- Everyone’s body is different but we all have a healthy weight that we should fall in. Understanding what your healthy weight is and working to get there will lessen the chances of heart disease.
- Minimize The Amount Of Alcohol You Drink- Suggested use is 1 drink a day for women and 2 for men
- Don’t Use Tobacco Products- Tobacco products can raise blood pressure, damage the heart and blood vessels, and reduce the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry
- Stay Away From Foods With High Saturated Fats, Trans Fats And Cholesterol- These affect the blood flow to vital organs in your body
- Minimize Salt In Your Foods- Salt can raise blood pressure
- Understand Your Family History- Family history can have a great impact on your body where heart disease is concerned
- Visit Your Doctor Routinely- Oftentimes there are no symptoms that would make you aware you are at risk of heart disease
- Practice Ways To Reduce Stress- High stress affects your blood pressure
- Understand Medications You Are Taking- Some medications do not work well with others and some medications may not be good for your heart if you are considered vulnerable to heart disease
- Stay Away From Drugs
Heart disease can affect anyone at any age and often does not show signs until it is too late. Work towards minimizing your risk of heart disease by making healthy choices for your body and actively visiting your doctor for routine testing that may reveal signs you are at risk.