Heart disease is a blanket term used to refer to coronary disease. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a broad term encompassing diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including heart attack, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and stroke. Because CVD is the number-one killer of both men and women worldwide, identifying risk factors and prevention strategies for CVD are important steps toward avoiding health problems.
In adults, heart disease causes 25% of all deaths in the United States each year. While some genetic factors can lead many of us to a predisposition toward heart disease, there are several lifestyle choices and patterns of behavior that can greatly increase your risk.
Of the critical risk factors that can contribute to the development of heart disease over the course of your life, the top four are:
1) high cholesterol
2) high blood pressure, and
4) chronic inflammation
Secondary factors that can impact the health of your blood vessels include:
2) poor nutrition
4) excessive alcohol intake
If you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, there are many factors you can address to reduce your risk of a heart attack.
Arterial damage doesn’t mean that you are doomed to a heart attack in the future, but it does mean that preventing heart attack will need to become a focus of your daily habits if you want to improve your coronary future. The American Heart Association offers a thorough checklist of changes after your first heart attack, but there’s no reason you can’t implement them earlier!
1) Quit smoking. Contact your physician for any medications you can safely take to help you reduce withdrawal pangs. Build a new habit to replace the time you spent smoking.
2) Move more. Start small by parking further from the store, or taking one flight of stairs instead of the elevator.
3) Manage your current illnesses obsessively. Don’t let diabetes or high blood pressure get out of control.
4) Find ways to de-stress. This may mean playing with kittens at the Humane Society or taking a painting class. Feed your inner child!
In addition to the four steps listed above, making a change in our diet can reduce your risk of a major cardiac event in the future. Increasing dietary fiber by increasing your consumption of fruit, vegetables, and unrefined whole grains may lessen the risk of future arterial damage and increase your chance of long-term coronary health. While switching to a vegan diet may be too large a jump for some, a Mediterranean-style diet is an easier (and delicious) change.
If you have a family history of heart disease, detailed testing of your current cardiac condition and personal genetic risk are critical, both for yourself and your offspring. By studying your current condition, future risks and corrective options now, you can plan for a future of bountiful health.
Cenegenics offers a Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program for current and new clients. Visit Cenegenics.com and sign up for your complimentary consultation or Call Today: 866-205-3107
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