The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that, “The first step toward heart health is understanding your risk of heart disease. Your risk depends on many factors, some of which are changeable and others that are not. Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. These risk factors may be different for each person. Preventing heart disease starts with knowing what your risks factors are and what you can do to lower them.
Risk factors for heart disease:
-Have high blood pressure
-Have high blood cholesterol
-Have overweight or obesity
-Have prediabetes or diabetes
-Do not get regular physical activity
-Have a family history of early heart disease, for example if your father or brother was diagnosed before age 55, or your mother or sister was diagnosed before age65
-Have a history of preeclampsia, which is a sudden rise in blood pressure and too much protein in the urine during pregnancy
-Have unhealthy eating behaviors
-Are age 55 or older for women or age 45 or older for men
Each risk factor increases your chance of developing heart disease. The more risks you have, the higher your overall risk.
Some risk factors cannot be changed. These include your age, sex, and a family history of early heart disease. Many others can be modified. For example, being more physically active and eating healthy are important steps for your heart health. You can make the changes gradually, one at a time. But making them is very important.”
Working with your provider to fully understand your risks is key to sustaining a healthy heart. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has a great list of questions you can ask your provider to help you fully understand your heart health. To read the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s full article visit https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/heart-healthy-living/risks
If you have not discussed your heart health lately, please make an appointment to meet with your provider today. Let February be the month you decide to get heart healthy!