Your Risk Factors For Heart Disease

Health Minute

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Some conditions and lifestyle factors can put you at a higher risk for developing heart disease. You can lower your risk of heart disease and heart attack by addressing these risk factors.

High levels of cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes can put you at a higher risk.

Cholesterol is a soft, wax-like substance found in all parts of the body. Our bodies need a little bit of cholesterol to work properly. But too much cholesterol can clog arteries and lead to heart disease.

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol makes up most of the body’s cholesterol. LDL is a known as “bad” cholesterol because having high levels can lead to a buildup in the arteries and result in heart disease.

High-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol absorbs cholesterol and returns it to the liver, which flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease.

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the artery walls as it circulates through the body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day but can cause health problems if it remains high. Having high blood pressure raises the risk for heart disease and stroke.

Diabetes also increases your risk for heart disease. With diabetes, the body either doesn't make enough insulin, can't use its own insulin as well as it should, or both. This causes sugars to build up in the blood. About three–quarters of people with diabetes die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease, the American Heart Association reports.

Smoking, a high-fat diet, lack of exercise, and being overweight are also risk factors for heart disease.

Drinking too much alcohol is also associated with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you drink alcohol, you should do so in moderation—no more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men.

Heart disease can run in the family. Hereditary factors likely play some role in high blood pressure, heart disease, and other vascular conditions. However, it is also likely people with a family history of heart disease share common environments and risk factors that increase their risk.

Talk to your doctor about lowering your risk for heart disease.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.