It is important to emphasize that heart disease prevention includes preventing the development of risk factors, treatment of risk factors, and prevention of recurrent heart disease events. More importantly, there are many risk factors that can be controlled through lifestyle modifications; these include cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity, and diabetes. In addition, other factors such as excessive alcohol consumption and stress can contribute to the development of heart disease. As you can see, many risk factors for heart disease can be altered with lifestyle changes. Focusing on modifiable aspects is a positive step you can take to promote heart health.
Uncontrollable Risk Factors For Heart Disease
Risk factors for heart disease include several that cannot be altered such as increasing age, having a family history of heart disease, race, and sex (men are at greater risk then women).
Men have a greater risk of heart disease than women and men also have heart attacks earlier in life. Heart disease risk increase after menopause for women.
The risk of heart disease increases with age. Men 45 and older and women 55 and older are at increased risk.
Heart disease is higher among Mexican Americans, American Indians, native Hawaiians and African Americans.
Heart disease often runs in families so if your parents had heart disease you are at increased risk.
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Controllable Risk Factors For Heart Disease
In this article we’ll see some controllable risk factors of heart disease and know how to adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent from heart disease. Some of the risk factors are discussed below:
While tobacco use has declined in the United States, there are still far too many people who smoke. In 2013, approximately 18 percent of adults and 16 percent of high school students smoked. The AHA estimates that nearly one-third of heart disease deaths are attributable to smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. Of recent concern is the use of e-cigarettes and the possibility that they may serve as a gateway to traditional cigarettes. If you are a smoker, quitting immediately is one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall health. Many smokers require assistance before quitting—consult your health care provider for additional information.
High Blood Pressure
Known as the “silent killer,” high blood pressure (or hypertension) is a major contributing factor to the development of heart disease. The word “silent” highlights that there are often no outward signs or symptoms of high blood pressure. Blood pressure recordings include the systolic blood pressure (top number) and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number), and the unit used is millimeters of mercury (mmHg). An optimal blood pressure is a systolic blood pressure less than 120 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure less than 80 mmHg. Systolic pressures between 120 and 139 or diastolic pressures between 80 and 89 are classified as pre-hypertensive blood pressures, and generally signal that an individual is at greater risk for higher blood pressures in the future. However, when the systolic pressure exceeds 140 mmHg or the diastolic pressure exceeds 90 mmHg, a diagnosis of hypertension is usually made by a health care provider. It is important to note that values must be confirmed on at least two separate occasions before a diagnosis is made. Among all U.S. adults, nearly one-third have hypertension, which represents approximately 80 million people. Hypertension rates are especially high in African Americans. Blood pressure values usually increase with age. There are many treatment options for hypertension, and lifestyle modifications such as proper diet and exercise, as discussed in this chapter, are key to achieving optimal blood pressure values.
Elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood contribute to the development of heart disease. Values above 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) increase risk for heart disease. Unfortunately, nearly 31 million U.S. adults have cholesterol values above 240 mg/dL (15). In addition to the importance of assessing the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, it is common to check for levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is often referred to as “good” cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein values below 100 mg/dL and HDL values above 60 mg/dL are desirable. Individuals with heart disease should strive for even lower LDL values to decrease their risk of having a cardiovascular event. While proper nutrition and regular exercise are important lifestyle modifications to help reach optimal cholesterol levels, many adults with heart disease also require medication to get their LDL levels down to an acceptable range. If your cholesterol is too high, you should work with your health care provider to take steps to lower your levels to recommended ranges in to order decrease your risk of having a cardiovascular event.
The most common class of medications used is known as statins. In rare situations, statin use can lead to rhabdomyolysis (skeletal muscle protein is abnormally released into the blood, with subsequent damage to the kidneys). When someone taking a statin performs exercise, muscle discomfort or pain could be a result of the medication rather than the exercise. People in this situation should report any uncommon muscle discomfort or pain to their health care provider. Also Check: Nutrition and Overall Health
Having a sedentary lifestyle is major risk factor for heart disease. Nearly 31 percent of adults in the United States do not engage in any leisure-time physical activity. This is a major public health issue. Having a high level of habitual physical activity has its own independent health benefits, but high activity levels also favorably influence several other risk factors such as obesity, prediabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Exercising regularly also helps to maintain mobility in old age and to prevent frailty. Quality of life measures are higher in adults who exercise regularly. The standard recommendation is for adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, which can be accomplished with brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
Excess body weight is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Being overweight or obese makes it more likely that you will have other cardiovascular risk factors. In particular, people who are overweight or obese are far more likely than others to have type 2 diabetes. Sixty-nine percent of adults in the United States are classified as overweight or obese, and these high rates are viewed as a public health crisis. Unfortunately, far too many children are classified as overweight or obese; approximately 32 percent of children between 2 and 19 years of age fall into this category. Sadly, obese children usually become obese adults.
Prediabetes and Diabetes
Fasting blood glucose (i.e., sugar) should be less than 100 mg/dL for children and adults. Values higher than this suggest prediabetes or diabetes. The latest statistics suggest that 21 million adults have diagnosed diabetes, 8 million have undiagnosed diabetes, and 81 million have prediabetes. Those with prediabetes have fasting blood glucose values between 100 and 125 mg/dL; those with diabetes have fasting blood glucose values greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL. Having diabetes dramatically increases your chances of developing heart disease. Fortunately, regular exercise and proper nutrition can help prevent the development of diabetes.
A healthy diet provides many potential benefits for health and for risk factor reduction. The relationships between nutrition choices and cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and heart disease highlight the value of heart-healthy eating.
So these were some uncontrollable and controllable risk factors for Heart Disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in many countries. One should always adopt a lifestyle for healthy heart.