Learning and understanding heart disease risk factors can be extremely useful. In fact, knowing them and acting on them could be life saving. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths was due to heart disease. Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to reduce the influence of certain risks.
Do You Have Heart Disease Risk Factors?
Unless you’ve already been diagnosed with a specific condition, it’s easy to assume that you don’t have any heart disease risk factors. If you’re typically healthy, you likely associate these types of condition with people who are older than you or who have more obvious risks such as extreme levels of obesity. That said, these issues are present at any age and can affect just about anyone, depending on certain parts of their lifestyles and the choices they make.
What Are Heart Disease Risk Factors?
The following are certain heart disease risk factors that you should be aware of. Find out if you fall into any of these categories and, if so, talk to your doctor and begin making some smart choices to ensure those risks remain as controlled as possible. They include:
1. Being Overweight or Having Obesity
Obesity is considered to be a moderate risk factor for heart disease. Research has shown that even when a person doesn’t have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, a BMI that is in the obesity range acts as its own independent risk factor. This means that even if you consider yourself to be obese or overweight and healthy, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. There could be something waiting under the surface, and the longer the excess body fat remains, the more that risk can affect you.
Many doctors consider obesity to be a leading heart disease risk factor, even in the absence of other risks. This is particularly true for women, though researchers have yet to determine exactly why women are affected to a greater extent than men.
Women who are overweight or who have obesity are 30 percent more likely to develop heart disease than those whose BMI is lower than 25. Women whose BMI is greater than 30 have twice the risk of those within the normal range. To determine your BMI, use this handy BMI Calculator.
2. High Blood Pressure
Regardless of your weight, high blood pressure is an important heart disease risk factor. Also known as hypertension, it is the result of a number of lifestyle components, including your body weight, but also your physical activity level and your nutrition. Nutrition and body weight are particularly important factors determining blood pressure. If your blood pressure is on the high side, talk to your doctor about changes you can make to your lifestyle to help to bring things under your control.
3. High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is often the result of body weight and nutrition. That said, there are some cases that are suspected to be unrelated and that are caused by genetics or other issues outside our control. Still, improving nutrition choices can play a long-term role in helping to keep cholesterol closer to where it should be. This is particularly true in ensuring that the fats you eat include saturated fat and trans fat as rarely as possible.
4. Diabetes or Prediabetes
Having prediabetes or having been diagnosed with diabetes are significant heart disease risk factors. When high levels of glucose are consistently circulating in the blood, the result is damaged nervous tissues and blood vessels. People with diabetes have a likelihood of death by heart disease that is four times higher than those who do not have the condition.
If you are prediabetic or have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to speak to your doctor about changes to your diet, regular exercise, and proper weight management for controlling your blood sugar levels. This can play an important role in reducing your heart disease risk factors.