What Are Your Chances of Developing Common Heart Diseases?
If you smoke or chew tobacco, abuse alcohol or live a sedentary lifestyle, you are at an accelerated risk of developing any number of heart diseases. Too much salt and sugar or processed foods in your diet also raises your risk of stroke, hypertension and other heart problems.
Combine no exercise, poor sleep habits and a family history of heart disease with 1 or more of the above coronary risk factors, and you suffer a dramatically higher than normal risk of contracting at least 1 of the following 5 most common heart diseases.
Heart muscle failure
Your heart is nothing but a muscle. And like any other muscle, it contracts and relaxes. This is how you pump blood and oxygen throughout your body. When that muscle becomes either weak or stiff, your heart valves fail to operate properly. Your odds of developing congestive heart failure (CHF) are then raised significantly.
For many reasons, your heart could beat too slowly, too quickly, or at an irregular rate. This can happen for hereditary and lifestyle reasons.
Coronary artery disease
CAD is generally the most common type of heart disease. This happens when your bad cholesterol (LDL) contributes to plaque buildup in your arteries. Unfortunately the early stages of CAD have no symptoms. By the time you experience chest pains, fatigue and shortness of breath, your unhealthy lifestyle and diet have already contributed to significant plaque buildup.
These occur when your heart is attacked directly. Some viruses, infections and diseases like tuberculosis can cause pericarditis and myocarditis, potentially dangerous heart muscle conditions.
Your aorta is a large blood vessel. Its job is to carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. If your aorta gets too big, you can suffer an aneurysm which causes this blood vessel to burst. Causes can be hereditary, or untreated high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
A diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and unprocessed foods has been proven to lead to a healthy heart. Enjoying 20 to 30 minute sessions of moderately intense physical activity 3 to 5 times a week also reduces your risk of the dangerous but much too common heart diseases listed above. Doctors believe that as much as 80% of all heart disease can be prevented through lifestyle change, so take the proper steps today to enjoy a long, hard healthy life tomorrow.
What Are Your Chances of Actually Developing Common Heart Diseases?
Your chances of developing heart disease comes down to the number of risk factors you have for it. The more factors, the higher chance of getting it. Let’s take a look at 10 of the common risk factors of heart disease:
• High blood pressure
• High blood cholesterol
• Diabetes and pre-diabetes
• Being overweight or obese
• Being physically inactive
• Unhealthy diet
• Having a family history of early heart disease
• Having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
If you have a propensity toward high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, it may be genetic-related but even so, all three are controllable with the proper diet, exercise and medication. Keeping them in check will lower your chances of contracting heart disease, however, you first have to know your numbers.
How does your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar stack up against the standards for each bodily vital? By getting an annual health check-up, not only will you know your numbers, but your healthcare provider can prescribe treatment to get any of your high numbers back where they should be.
As far as the risk factors of smoking, overweight, being sedentary and eating an unhealthy diet, all of these are also completely within your control. There are several programs available at your local pharmacy to help you overcome smoking, but none of them will work unless you are mentally prepared to quit.
And once you become more active through exercising and eating a healthy diet, the weight you want to lose will start coming off. Here again, losing weight, exercising and eating healthy are things you have to want to do to improve your health and longevity … not the things others would like you to do.
As long as you are at the doctor getting checked out, ask for your doctor’s advice on quitting smoking, losing weight, getting more exercise and eating a more healthy diet. All you need is the will and a plan to overcome them and those risk factors will be at or close to zero.
With all of the risk factors except the last three in your control, you have greatly reduced your risk of heart disease and lowered your chances of having a heart-related event. While you can’t control the last three factors, you can have an effect on the other seven.
Start taking the steps to lower your risk of heart disease today. Tomorrow may be too late to get a second chance.