Don't Risk Your Heart Health

A woman is checking her heart rate after exercising.Every minute your heart pumps 1.5 gallons of blood through your body, and that’s just one of the many functions of the heart. How you live, your health and your lifestyle choices may affect your risk for heart-related conditions later in life. As early as childhood and adolescence, plaque may begin to materialize in your heart’s arteries. One in three Americans has cardiovascular disease, but not all of them are senior citizens. Even young and middle-aged people can develop heart problems, especially now that obesity, type 2 diabetes and other risk factors are becoming more common at a younger age.

What’s Your Risk

It’s important to know the heart disease risk factors and how certain health conditions can affect your heart. Knowing your heart disease risk factors could save your life or the life of someone you love. Some of these risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes and prediabetes
  • Obesity
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Being physically inactive

High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because you may never experience symptoms. The best way to know if you have high blood pressure is to check your numbers and keep track of any major differences. Early treatment of high blood pressure is critical because it can cause heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and other serious health problems.

While people with a family history of heart disease have a higher risk, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. Work with your doctor to create a plan that aims to keep your heart healthy. This action plan may include a workout routine, ways to control cholesterol and blood sugar levels, eating healthy foods, tracking blood pressure numbers, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking. Proper control and treatment of diabetes may reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. However, blood sugar levels still may increase your risk because the risk factors that contribute to diabetes contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. The overlapping risk factors include high blood pressure, being overweight, physical inactivity and smoking.