Heart disease can happen whether you have risk factors for heart disease or not. Heart disease is the #1 cause of death of both men and women in the United States.
1 in every 4 deaths is from heart disease, and it claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cigarette smoking are key risk factors for heart disease, and about 49% of Americans have at least one of these three risk factors.
Fortunately, most people who develop heart disease will have some risk factors, and some of these risk factors can be changed or altered by adopting a healthier life style. Changing the reversible risk factors can help reduce heart disease, even if you have risk factors that cannot be changed:
Here are ten risk factors for heart disease:
- High blood pressure, or a blood pressure of greater than 140/90 on a regular basis, does damage to your blood vessels and causes the heart to work harder. Reducing blood pressure through diet, exercise, and medications can eliminate this as a risk factor for heart disease
- Those who smoke are at a much greater risk of heart disease over non-smokers. The toxins in cigarettes can increase the risk of clotting and smoking causes vasoconstriction, which is narrowing of the arteries. These together increase the risk of heart disease.
- Elevated blood cholesterol. The blood vessels become narrower when cholesterol builds up on the inner walls of the arteries leading to the heart. Narrowed blood vessels have a higher risk of getting blood clots in them when compared to arteries that have not become narrowed due to cholesterol deposits.
- Diabetes mellitus. Those who have diabetes have changes in the blood vessels leading to the heart, brain, and limbs so that blockages can occur if the blood vessels form clots. Lowering your blood sugar keeps the blood vessels from becoming damaged and decreases your risk for heart disease.
- Being overweight. Men and women with body mass indexes of greater than 25 (get your body mass index checked online) run a greater risk of heart disease. Lowering the weight will turn this risk factor around so you have a normal risk of heart disease. Try to reduce your weight, even if it is hard, your life maybe at stake.