What Could Be Contributing To Your Heart Disease?
February is designated as American Heart Month, so it is an ideal time to remind our patients to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their families, friends and communities involved.
Cardiovascular disease generally refers to a group of conditions that involve the narrowing or blocking of blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke. Often referred to as heart disease, cardiovascular disease is an umbrella for many different heart conditions like coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems, and congenital heart defects. But what kind of things can cause cardiovascular disease? There are three different types of risk factors that could contribute to cardiovascular disease.
Behavioral Risk Factors
Lifestyle choices may also increase your risk of heart disease and, ultimately, a heart attack. But there are some behaviors you can modify to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease now! Having a diet that is high in saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and cholesterol has been linked to heart disease and related conditions. Physical inactivity can also lead to heart disease and it can also increase the chances of having other medical conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. Drinking too much alcohol can also raise blood pressure levels and the risk of heart disease. Too much alcohol can also increase levels of triglycerides, a form of cholesterol, which hardens in your arteries. Cigarette smoking and tobacco use can also increase your risks as they damage the heart and blood vessels. Smoking can increase the risk of heart conditions, raise blood pressure, and increases the amount of carbon monoxide in the blood. Even exposing others to secondhand smoke can increase the risk of heart disease. Avoiding smoke, eating healthier, being more physically active, and consuming less alcohol can help you limit your risk of heart disease.
Health Risk Factors
If you have one or more of these conditions, you may be at risk for cardiovascular disease. These conditions include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. If not controlled, high blood pressure can affect the heart and other major organs in the body including the kidneys and brain. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is made by the liver or found in certain foods. When your liver makes enough for your body, the excess cholesterol can build up in the walls of the arteries, decreasing the blood flow to the heart, brain, kidneys, and other parts of the body. While some cholesterol is good, low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is considered bad and can lead to heart disease. Diabetes can also increase the risk of heart disease since the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to flush the sugar from the blood. Managing these health conditions with medications and lifestyle changes can help to minimize the risk of contracting heart disease.
Hereditary And Physical Characteristics
Genetics and family history can also leave you at risk for heart disease. Genetic factors are likely to play some role in high blood pressure, heart disease, and other conditions. But when these genetic factors are combined with an unhealthy lifestyle choice, it can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Other physical and genetic risk factors include age, gender, and ethnicity.