In the United States, cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death. It is also a significant cause of disability. There are numerous factors that can increase your risk of heart disease. They are known as risk factors. Some of these are beyond your control, but there are many that you can do too. Educating yourself about them can help you reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
What are the risk factors for heart disease that you cannot change?
- Age: As you become older, your risk of developing heart disease rises. Men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 55 are at a higher risk.
- Sex: Certain risk factors may affect the risk of heart disease differently in men and women. For example, estrogen offers some protection against heart disease in women, while diabetes increases the risk of heart disease in women more than in men.
- A person’s race or ethnicity: Certain groups face greater dangers than others. African Americans are more likely to have heart disease than whites, but Hispanic Americans are less likely. East Asians, for example, have lower rates, whereas South Asians have greater rates.
- A family tree: If you have a close family member who has heart disease at a young age, you are at a higher risk.
Prevention of heart disease
When cardiac specialists discuss prevention, they refer to one of the three types: primary, secondary, or primordial. All three include comparable features, but they begin at different periods and have different results.
Primary prevention tries to keep a person at risk of heart disease from having their first heart attack or stroke, requiring angioplasty or surgery, or acquiring another type of heart disease. People who already have cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, are typically targeted for primary prevention. Primary prevention, like secondary prevention, focuses on reducing these risk factors through healthy lifestyle modifications and, if necessary, medicines. However, the presence of concerning cardiovascular risk markers indicates that inflammation, atherosclerosis, and/or endothelial dysfunction are already present and, in most cases, irreversible.
These attempts begin after a person suffers a heart attack or stroke, has angioplasty or bypass surgery or acquires another type of heart disease. It includes taking aspirin or a cholesterol-lowering statin, stopping smoking and decreasing weight if necessary, exercising more, and eating a nutritious diet. Secondary prevention might sound like closing the barn door once the horse has left, but it is not. These steps can stop the development of heart disease and avoid a second heart attack or stroke. Although it may seem clear, the number one death of people who survive a first heart attack is a second heart attack.
The term “primordial” refers to something that existed from the beginning. Primordial prevention entails attempting to avoid the onset of inflammation, atherosclerosis, and endothelial dysfunction, hence preventing risk factors like elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight, and, eventually, cardiovascular events. Primordial prevention, which was once infrequently acknowledged, is now at the center of the American Heart Association’s notion of perfect heart health and attempts to assist people to attain it.  As the name implies, the earlier you begin practicing primal prevention—ideally, from childhood—the more likely you are to succeed and save yourself from heart disease.
Try following these steps to prevent cardiovascular disease:
You must not smoke or use tobacco
Stopping smoking or using smokeless tobacco is one of the healthiest things you can do for your heart. Even if you do not smoke, you should avoid secondhand smoke.
Tobacco contains chemicals that can harm the heart and blood vessels. Cigarette smoke depletes the oxygen in the blood, raising blood pressure and pulse rate as the heart must work harder to give enough oxygen to the body and brain.
Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of movement every day. Physical activity daily can reduce the risk of heart disease. Physical activity aids with weight management. It also lowers the risk of acquiring other heart-related illnesses such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
Consume a heart-healthy diet
A nutritious diet can help protect the heart, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. A heart-healthy diet includes the following foods:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Other legumes or beans
- Fish and lean meats
- Dairy products that are low in fat or fat-free
- Complete grains
- Olive oil is a good source of healthy fats.
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and the Mediterranean diet are two examples of heart-healthy eating programs.
Limit your consumption of the following:
- Carbohydrates processed with salt and sugar
- Saturated fat (found in red meat and full-fat dairy products), alcohol, and trans fat
- Keep a healthy weight
Obesity, particularly around the midsection, raises the risk of heart disease. Excess weight can raise the risk of developing heart disease by causing illnesses such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
The body mass index (BMI) calculates whether a person is overweight or obese based on height and weight. Being overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 or higher, and relates to higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Waist circumference can also be used to determine how much belly fat you have.
Get plenty of rest
Being overweight, elevated blood pressure, cardiac arrest, diabetes, and depression are all increased in people who do not get enough sleep.
The majority of adults need to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Make getting enough sleep a key concern in your life. Set a sleep pattern for yourself and adhere to it by starting to go to bed and getting up at the exact times every day. To make it easier to sleep, keep your bedroom dark and quiet. If you believe you have been getting enough sleep but are still exhausted during the day, ask your doctor if you should be tested for obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that increases your risk of heart disease.
Loud snoring, pausing breathing for brief periods during sleep and getting up gasping for air are all symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea treatments may involve decreasing weight if you are overweight or utilizing a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device to keep your airway open while you sleep.
Some people react to stress in unhealthy ways, such as bingeing, binge drinking, or smoking. Finding alternate stress-management methods, such as physical activity, relaxation exercises, or meditation, can benefit your health.
Schedule frequent health screenings
High blood pressure and cholesterol levels can harm the heart and blood vessels. You will not know if you have certain conditions unless you are tested for them. Regular screening can inform you of your numbers and whether you need to act.
- High blood pressure: Blood pressure tests are typically initiated in childhood. Blood pressure should be checked at least once every two years beginning at the age of 18 to screen for high blood pressure as a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. If you are between the ages of 18 and 39 and have high blood pressure risk factors, you will be examined once a year. People over the age of 40 are also given a yearly blood pressure test.
- Cholesterol levels are high: Adults should get their cholesterol levels checked every four to six years. Cholesterol screening is typically initiated at the age of 20, while earlier testing may be advised if you have additional risk factors, such as a family history of early-stage heart disease.
- Diabetes type 2 screening: Diabetes is a cardiovascular disease risk factor. If you have diabetes risk factors, like being overweight or a familial history of diabetes, your doctor may prescribe early screening. If not, screening should begin at the age of 45, with getting tested every three years.
Disclaimer: “HealthLink.news does not have any intention to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide its users and/ or the general public with information to better understand their health. All content (including text, graphics, images, information, etc.) provided herein is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis, or treatment. HealthLink.news makes no representation and assumes no responsibility/ liability for the accuracy of the information, advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided herein or on its website. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ IT HERE OR ACCESSED THROUGH THE HealthLink.news WEBSITE.”