Believe it or not, there’s good news and bad news when it comes to heart disease. The bad news, obviously, is that it is the number one cause of death in the U.S. The good news is that while you may not be able to prevent it entirely, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of developing heart disease.
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is get educated on and assess your major risk factors—factors that have been proven to increase heart disease risk significantly—and your contributing factors—factors not proven but strongly associated with increased risk. Let’s take a look at those in more detail.
Major Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Our hearts often stop working as well as we get older (thickening heart walls, stiffer arteries, less efficient pumping). Individuals aged 65+ are considered at higher risk for heart disease.
Studies have shown that men generally are at greater risk for developing heart disease. Once women reach menopause/65 years, however, that gap becomes smaller.
Certain health conditions increase your risk for heart attack and heart disease. Common ones include high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.
Heart disease is often hereditary. If there is a history of it in your family, you are considered to be at a higher risk for developing heart problems.
Tobacco use greatly increases your risk not just for lung disease, but for heart disease and heart attack as well. Even secondhand smoke is considered a risk factor.
Regular activity helps prevent and control conditions that lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Exercising also keeps your heart in good shape for longer in general.
Contributing Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Stressful situations and lifestyles are likely to trigger conditions and behaviors that increase your risk for heart disease. For example, stress can increase blood pressure, lead to overeating, and increase tobacco and alcohol use.
Consuming a diet high in fat and sodium contributes to your risk for developing heart disease. Eating nutrient-rich foods, on the other hand, keeps your heart healthy and helps fight disease.
Too much alcohol consumption has been shown to correlate with an increase in major risk factors for heart disease. For instance, alcohol can increase blood pressure and cause obesity and higher fat levels in your body that increase your heart disease risk.
A big part of being proactive about heart disease is monitoring your heart health on a regular basis. That’s why BEK Medical provides easy-to-use at-home diagnostic supplies, such as blood pressure monitors, stethoscopes, oximeters, glucose monitoring sets, and more.
Check out our full selection of diagnostic medical products online or in-store today!