Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, causing over one-fourth of American deaths. Every year, approximately 785,000 Americans suffer from their first heart attack and about 470,000 people experience a recurrent episode. Of the many types of heart disease, the most common is coronary artery disease, or CAD. This form of cardiovascular disease occurs when the arteries supplying the heart with oxygen-rich blood narrow from the buildup of fatty plaques on the artery walls. This narrowing can eventually cut off the supply of oxygen to the heart, leading to a heart attack.
You may be at higher risk for developing heart disease if you possess any of the following risk factors:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) or low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL)
- Obese or overweight
- Sedentary lifestyle (low levels of physical activity)
- Poor eating habits
- Advanced age
- Family history of heart disease
Although many of these risk factors, such as age, sex, and family history, cannot be modified. Most of the factors that increase your risk of heart disease, however, can be altered through simple lifestyle modifications . Working with your physician to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control are important, as is managing your blood sugar levels if you are diabetic. Commit to being more physically active by including 30 minutes of moderate exercise in your daily routine. Become aware of the heart-healthy foods that you should include in a nutritious and balanced diet.
These are only a few of the things that you can do to lower your risk of heart disease and a heart attack. Many of these preventive measures will also decrease your risk of developing other serious medical conditions, such as stroke or type-II diabetes. If you would like to learn more about avoiding the complications of cardiovascular disease, do not hesitate to contact Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center at (702) 233-5300.