Nearly half of people in the United States — 47%, to be exact — have at least one of three biggest risk factors for heart disease. If you consider that heart disease is the leading cause of death in our country, this number is very alarming.
Now, do you know what the three biggest risk factors for heart disease are? Given that knowing this information could possible save your life, Dr. Madaiah Revana and the team here at Humble Cardiology Associates are going to review these risk factors so you can take steps to safeguard your heart health.
Here’s a look at what we mean by heart disease and what the three biggest risk factors are (hint: they are all factors that you can do something about).
Defining heart disease
We use heart disease to describe serious conditions that affect either your heart or your blood vessels. The most common examples of heart disease are:
As you can see by this list, heart disease is not only serious, but life-threatening. In fact, every 34 seconds in the US, someone loses their life to cardiovascular disease.
The big three
While there are many factors that can contribute to heart disease, far and away, the three biggest include:
1. High blood pressure
Also called hypertension, this condition occurs when your blood places too much pressure on your arterial walls as it passes through. Hypertension can lead to atherosclerosis, which narrows your arteries, exacerbating the condition. Some of the possible complications of hypertension include stroke and heart attack.
2. High cholesterol
If you have elevated levels of cholesterol (more specifically, LDL cholesterol) in your blood, it can lead to plaque buildup and atherosclerosis. This leaves you at greater risk for heart attacks.
When you smoke, you’re harming your cardiovascular health in a few ways. First, it damages your heart and blood vessels. Second, nicotine raises your blood pressure. Third, your blood doesn’t carry as much oxygen thanks to higher levels of carbon monoxide from smoking.
Improving your heart health is possible
Now, we want to point to another very important statistic — 90% of heart disease is preventable if you improve your diet, get some exercise, and quit smoking.
While the connection between the risk of smoking and quitting is fairly direct, diet and exercise are the key factors when it comes to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. A diet that’s high in sugar, sodium, and unhealthy processed foods can lead to hypertension and cholesterol issues, as can a sedentary lifestyle.
Going in the opposite direction, you can improve your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels by exercising and eating a healthier diet. And, in improving those areas, you can reduce your risk for developing heart disease.
We know that quitting smoking, eating better, and exercising more are easier said than done, but we’re here to help.
For a customized heart disease prevention plan, please schedule an appointment with us at one of our two offices in Humble or Houston, Texas.