How Can I Reduce My Risk For Diabetes
Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, lifestyle changes can help. For example, if you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and engaging in 150 minutes or more per week of moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.
Healthy diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, and plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in and saturated fats, are also recommended.
How To Lower Your Cholesterol Level And Your Risk Of Heart Attack
High cholesterol is one of the risk factors for heart disease and heart attack, along with being overweight, smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes. The good news ? You can control many other risk factors.
Take the following steps to lower your cholesterol level and, therefore, your risk of heart attack.
Risk Factors You Can’t Change:
There are some risk factors you can’t change. However, you should know about them and how they might affect your health.
- Family history – Your risk is higher if any of your immediate family members have had a heart attack or if they have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
- Age – As you grow older, your chances of developing heart disease increases. Men over 45 years and women over 55 years or who have finished menopause are at an increased risk for heart disease.
- Sex – Men have a higher risk than women. The risk for women increases after menopause.
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Don’t Forget To Take Your Medications
If your doctor prescribes you a medication to take, you take it right? That’s not always the case when it comes to heart health, and it’s something Haythe sees regularly. “So many people are prescribed medication for blood pressure or cholesterol and don’t take them. You can’t feel high blood pressure or high cholesterol, so trust that your doctor knows what they’re doing,” she says. “If side effects are bothering you, talk to your doctor about trying something else. There are so many medicines on the market, and you should be able to find one right for you.”
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Developing Heart Disease And Having A Heart Attack
The most common disease of the heart is called coronary artery disease. This disease is also known as atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Coronary arteries provide oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the heart to keep it pumping strongly. Over time, fatty deposits called plaque can build up inside the coronary arteries. When the build-up of plaque narrows the arteries so much that only a small amount of blood can flow through to the heart, chest pain can occur. Sometimes, a blood clot will completely block the blood flow to a coronary artery causing a heart attack – a medical emergency.
You can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by understanding the risk factors that can cause it and by making the necessary changes. At least 80% of Canadians have at least one risk factor. The more risk factors you have, the greater your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
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Understanding Your Cardiovascular Disease Risk Score
In the past, your doctor may have measured and treated each of your CVD risk factors one at a time. It is now recommended that overall risk be assessed to determine your personal heart disease and stroke-risk score.
Risk score puts many of the risk factors together. This is a bit like putting all the pieces of a puzzle together so you can see the whole picture. By looking at the whole picture, your doctor can discuss ways to reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack. Risk reduction strategies include medications, surgery and lifestyle changes.
However, if you are already known to be at high risk , a risk score will not need to be calculated. Your doctor will tell you if you are in this group and advise you about what to do to reduce your risk.
Avoid Secondhand Smoke At All Costs
While smoking is horrible for your heart, exposing yourself to secondhand smoke can seriously impact your health as well. According to the CDC, secondhand smokeeven as a nonsmokercan increase your risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30 percent. Not only that, but it can also increase your risk of stroke and death. And yes, even something like chatting with a friend over their smoke break at work counts.
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Get A Good Nights Sleep
Poor sleep is tied to a number of risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and heart failure, as well as a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea experience multiple pauses of breathing during sleep, resulting in lower-quality sleep and decreased oxygen supply to the blood. When this happens, the body releases stress hormones, which over time can increase the risk of heart disease, according to the AHA.
In addition, sleep apnea is associated with a greater risk of high blood pressure, stroke, arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, and heart failure. Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring loud enough to disturb your sleep or that of others, sporadic episodes of choking that actually wake you up several times per night, and excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, see your doctor about undergoing a sleep test for diagnosis.
Five Ways To Reduce Heart Attack Risk By 80 Percent
If you could do five things to reduce your heart-attack risk by 80 percent, would you take a step to start on this path?
That’s a challenge posed by Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD, director of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center and professor of medicine, UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson. She cites a study from Swedens Karolinska Institute, which observed 20,721 healthy Swedish men, ages 45 to 79, for 11 years. The study, published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, noted that men could reduce their heart attack risk by 80 percent if they made five lifestyle changes. I believe these also apply to women and Americans, said Dr. Sweitzer.
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Try To Work Up A Sweat Every Day
There are many different reasons to make exercising a priority, as it not only keeps you healthy physically, but mentally as well. One major reason, though, is that it helps your heart stay strong and in tip-top shape. “Aerobic exercise and high-intensity interval training can help improve overall health and reduce your risk of heart disease. We know that increasing your exerciseup to 150 minutes per weekdramatically reduces your risk of heart disease,” says Nate Favini, MD, an internist and the medical lead at Forward in San Francisco. “Even if you’re not able to get in 150 minutes a week, any exercise is better than none.” And for ideas on how to work up that daily sweat, check out The 50 Best 5-Minute Exercises Anyone Can Do.
And Work On Decreasing Your Stress Levels
Stress can take a serious toll on your health. “High stress levels are linked to high cortisol levels, which can lead to high blood sugar and blood pressure,” says Favinitwo things that can increase your risk of heart disease. The good thing is he’s fully aware that it’s impossible to avoid all stress, and that’s not necessary. Instead, it’s all about managing the stress you do have by “doing activities that ground you, like exercise or meditation,” he says. And for more ways to find some calm in your life, check out 5 Easy Ways to Manage Your Stress Right Now, According to a Doctor.
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Can Heart Disease Be Prevented At Any Age
Its never too early to start preventing heart disease. The sooner you develop healthy habits, the more benefit they will have. Plaque buildup can begin in your 40s, yet it may not cause symptoms for decades.
Even if you already have been diagnosed with heart disease and you might think its too late there is evidence that you can actually reverse heart disease with lifestyle changes.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Ask your health care provider to determine your healthy weight and create a plan to achieve and maintain it. Even losing a little extra weight can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Manage your diet carefully if you have diabetes and take your medications as indicated by your health care provider.
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Cut Back On Fried Foods
Eating French fries every now and then is totally fine, but Haythe recommends staying away from fried foods other than maybe the occasional indulgence. “Your heart will thank you,” she says. Especially since a 2019 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found eating fried food can increase your risk of heart disease. Get the same great texture and taste by using an air fryer instead, which allows you to cook up crispy food minus all the oil.
Meditation May Help Lower Heart Disease Risk
The ancient, mind-calming practice of meditation may have a role in reducing the risk of heart disease. So says a scientific statement from the American Heart Association in the Sept. 28, 2017, Journal of the American Heart Association.
Experts reviewed dozens of studies published over the past two decades. The results suggest that meditation may improve a host of factors linked to heart disease, including stress, anxiety, depression, poor sleep quality, and high blood pressure. It may also help people stop smoking. An added bonus: it’s low-cost and poses no apparent risk.
You can learn meditation by taking a class or watching an online video. The practice typically involves quiet, focused attention, during which you close your eyes while sitting comfortably. You then direct your consciousness to your breathing, an object, or a word or phrase known as a mantra. Mindfulness meditation encourages you to focus on the present moment. Transcendental Meditation uses techniques that encourage the mind to “transcend” thoughts. About 8% of adults in the United States say they practice some form of meditation.
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Know Your Risk For Heart Disease
You can take steps to lower your risk for heart disease by changing the factors you can control.
Several health conditions, your lifestyle, and your age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease. These are called risk factors. About half of all Americans have at least 1 of 3 key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.1
Some risk factors for heart disease cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control.
Who Is Most At Risk
You are more likely to be hospitalized or to die from heart diseases and conditions if you are a:
- man who is 45 years of age or older
- woman who is 55 years of age or older
There is also a higher risk of heart disease for women who:
- take birth control pills
- this increases the risk of high blood pressure and blood clots, but the risk is even greater if you also:
- smoke and are over 35 years old
- already have high blood pressure
- already have a blood clotting problem
People with lower incomes are more likely to develop heart diseases. This is because they are more susceptible to risk factors associated with social disadvantage, such as:
- high blood pressure
Some ethnic groups tend to have very high rates of heart disease. This is due to family history or cultural reasons, including diet and physical inactivity. These groups include Aboriginal Canadians and Canadians whose origins are:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- quitting smoking
If you have already had a heart attack or stroke, these changes can reduce the risk of having another.
Also follow your health care provider’s plans for managing your heart disease or condition.
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What Is Healthy Cholesterol
Cholesterol is broken down into two types:
low density lipoprotein cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, which can build up and block arterieshigh density lipoprotein cholesterol, or good cholesterol, which helps remove other forms of cholesterol from the bloodstream.The total cholesterol level is obtained by adding the HDL and LDL levels together and falls into one of the following three categories:
Healthy: Less than 200 milligrams / deciliter Upper limit: 200-239 mg / dLHigh: 240 mg / dL and above
How To Prevent A Heart Attack
Managing your heart disease risk factors and making healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent a heart attack.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. About 630,000 deaths each year stem from heart-related causes, including those from heart attack and stroke.
The economic burden of heart disease is also enormous, totaling about $200 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Many of these deaths could be prevented and the healthcare costs reduced through medication and changes in health habits, the CDC notes.
Reducing major risks for heart disease can help prevent future heart attacks.
Key modifiable risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and being overweight or obese.
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Eat More Healthy Fats
Getting more fiber is important, but Favini says upping the amount of healthy fats you eat is crucial, too. “Increasing your consumption of healthy fats from foods like olive oil, nuts, and fish reduces your chance of heart problems in the future,” he says. Both omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to help protect against heart disease, Harvard Health says. So, don’t be afraid of adding more into your dietit’s only doing your body good.
How To Lower Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Its an unfortunate truth that many people face heart disease. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. But what can you do about it? What things can you incorporate into your diet or daily routine to lower your risk of heart disease? Here are some ways to reduce your risk!
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Live Well Today For A Healthier Tomorrow
The bottom line? Healthy living is the best way to delay or avoid many heart and brain diseases. This means being active and fit, eating healthy, avoiding tobacco and managing conditions that can put you at greater risk. Take charge of your health. Join Healthy for Good for tips, tools and inspiration to make changes and create healthy habits you can sustain throughout your life.
What Health Conditions Increase The Risk Of Heart Disease
High blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is a medical condition that happens when the pressure of the blood in your arteries and other blood vessels is too high. The high pressure, if not controlled, can affect your heart and other major organs of your body, including your kidneys and brain.
High blood pressure is often called a silent killer because it usually has no symptoms. The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to measure your blood pressure. You can lower your blood pressure with lifestyle changes or with medicine to reduce your risk for heart disease and heart attack. Learn more about blood pressure.
Unhealthy blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made by the liver or found in certain foods. Your liver makes enough for your bodys needs, but we often get more cholesterol from the foods we eat.
If we take in more cholesterol than the body can use, the extra cholesterol can build up in the walls of the arteries, including those of the heart. This leads to narrowing of the arteries and can decrease the blood flow to the heart, brain, kidneys, and other parts of the body.
There are two main types of blood cholesterol: LDL cholesterol, which is considered to be bad cholesterol because it can cause plaque buildup in your arteries, and HDL cholesterol, which is considered to be good cholesterol because higher levels provide some protection against heart disease.
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What Are The Best Ways To Monitor Your Heart Health
There are many tests you can do to monitor your heart health. The best tests for you will depend on your age and risk factors.
Blood tests for heart health may include the following:
Cholesterol testing: Cholesterol tests measure the different types of fats in your blood. There are several types of cholesterol, including HDL and LDL cholesterol. High amounts of some types of cholesterol can cause heart problems.
High sensitivity C-reactive protein test: This test measures the amount of hs-CRP in your blood. A high level is a sign of inflammation. If the inflammation is in your heart, you could be more likely to have a heart attack.
Homocysteine test: This test measures the amount of homocysteine in your blood. Homocysteine can damage your blood vessels and cause blood clots. People with high levels of homocysteine are more likely to have heart problems.
Trimethylamine N-oxide testing: This test measures the TMAO in your blood. TMAO is determined by the bacteria in your gut. High levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Your healthcare provider will also monitor other tests that can impact heart health such as:
Vitamin D levels
In addition to blood tests, there are tests that look directly at your heart function. These tests can determine if you already have signs of heart disease. These include:
There are also some ways you can monitor your heart health at home. These may include: