Heart disease accounts for more than 40% of deaths in the United States alone. It is therefore imperative that you and others you love learn how to keep the heart healthy. The good news is that this leading cause of death can be prevented. How? By learning the signs and reducing the risk of developing heart disease.
Smoking is the single biggest risk factor you can control. A person that smokes is at a much greater risk for developing heart disease. In fact, as few as two cigarettes a day increase the risk, and second hand smoke isn’t any better. Smoking exposes your lungs to carbon monoxide, which depletes the oxygen in your blood and causes plaques to build up in your arteries. These plaques not only result in clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and an overworked heart, they also cause strokes.
If you have diabetes or your doctor has told you that you’re pre-diabetic, then you’re automatically at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Both diabetes and pre-diabetes mean that your insulin response isn’t working as it should. It’s not telling your body to use the sugar in your blood for fuel. This means that your blood glucose levels stay high. This causes inflammation in your arteries and gets plaques to build up. Because oestrogen provides some protection from plaque build-ups, peri-menopausal and menopausal women with diabetes or pre-diabetes are at an even higher risk of developing heart disease.
People who are overweight or inactive have a significantly higher risk of developing heart disease. The heart has a much bigger job to do when a person is overweight. In addition, obesity is often caused by a diet that is high in fat and sugar. These tend to make plaques develop on arterial walls, which also cause the heart to work harder. A deranged body metabolism is caused by inactivity, high blood pressure, a high fat and high sugar diet amongst other things. Eating a healthier diet and getting regular physical activity can reverse both obesity and poor body metabolism, thus eliminating or significantly reducing the risk of heart disease.
High cholesterol, high blood pressure, birth control pills, poor diet and lack of regular exercise are all factors that can contribute to a higher risk of heart disease. Simple lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in reducing the risk of heart disease leading to a healthier and happier life.