Heart disease and genetics are closely linked, but since there is no history of stroke or heart attack in your family, you are in the clear, right?
Your lifestyle is also a major player in the game! Certain habits can drastically increase your risk of heart attack, diabetes, and stroke, so if any of these at-risk lifestyles sound familiar, then you should consider making some big changes to maximize your heart health.
It’s a well-known fact that smoking is not good for your lungs, but it also greatly increases your risk of heart disease. In fact, people who smoke are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart disease because the nicotine in cigarettes limits the amount of oxygen that reaches your heart, increases your blood pressure, makes your heart beat faster, and damages the insides of your blood vessels. Roughly 1 in 5 deaths from heart disease are directly related to smoking, so quitting is the only solution to help lower your risk.
The good news? Your risk of developing heart disease greatly diminishes after just one to two years of not smoking,
Obese adults have a much higher risk for developing heart disease than their normal-weight peers. A recent Danish study tried to prove otherwise by claiming that obesity is not unhealthy as long as your lifestyle is relatively healthy and you don’t have high blood pressure or other signs of illness. However, follow-up research showed that even “metabolically healthy obese” males were three times more likely to develop heart disease and females had double the risk.
There really is something to the old adage that “you are what you eat”. The amount and type of food that you consume can have a direct impact on your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight, especially if you have diabetes. A healthy diet is one of the best ways to ward off cardiovascular disease, so choose nutrient rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy, and limit your intake of sweets, junk food, and red meats.
While binge-watching an entire season of your favorite show may be your definition of a great day, your heart does not agree. However, just 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise 3-4 days a week can help lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol levels, and keep you at a healthy weight. If hitting that weekly exercise goal sounds like too much, too soon, don’t get discouraged! Even a little exercise is better than none.
Research shows that the flavonoids and antioxidants in red wine are good for your heart, but only when consumed in moderation. The American Heart Association recommends drinking no more than one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women (one drink = one 12oz. beer, 4 oz. wine, 1.5 oz. of 8-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits). Drinking any more than that could put you at risk for high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol.
For more information on at-risk lifestyles and lowering your risk for developing heart disease, contact the cardiology experts at Cardiac Solutions.
Contact our expert cardiologists for more useful tips on lowering your risk of heart disease!