Cardiovascular diseases affect the function of blood vessels of your heart. The Centers forDisease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that 805,000 people in the US have a heart attack every year. Coronary artery disease, the most common form of cardiovascular disease, is the leading cause of death in the US. Around 18.2 million adults aged 20 and older have coronary artery disease.
It is important to learn about the risk factors contributing to cardiovascular diseases and prevent them. The American Heart Association (AHA) identifies certain risk factors that can lead to heart and vascular disease. These are divided into two categories controllable and uncontrollable risk factors and can be prevented with timely care and routine checkups that screen your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
People who are not physically active have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Exercise burns calories that help maintain healthy body weight and lower high cholesterol, obesity, and high blood pressure. Also, it strengthens the heart and skeletal muscles, which improves blood circulation.
Smoking is a major risk factor that increases your blood pressure, and can even cause sudden cardiac death. Smoking tightens major arteries and can cause irregularities in the heart rate and heartbeats.
Blood pressure is how hard your blood presses within the arteries. If the blood presses very hard against the blood vessel walls, the blood vessels will become thick, burst, or sustain any life-threatening medical condition. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. Sometimes, you may not know that you have high blood pressure. That is why routine medical checkups and blood pressure screenings are important to prevent life-threatening heart diseases associated with high blood pressure.
Diabetes occurs when your body is not able to use the available insulin or does not produce sufficient insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. When your body lacks insulin, starches and sugar cannot be used for energy, causing high blood sugar levels. If not controlled, diabetes can impair the blood circulation of the heart, which can lead to atherosclerosis.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by your body and needed for certain body functions. However, high cholesterol can increase your risk of developing atherosclerosis. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are two specific kinds of blood cholesterol. Your risk of developing a heart attack increases if LDL otherwise bad cholesterol accumulates on the coronary artery walls that supply blood to the heart. HDL, otherwise good cholesterol, helps to get rid of cholesterol in your blood. Regular cholesterol screenings are important to determine whether your cholesterol level is normal.
Extra weight can cause health complications like increased cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, which are major risk factors for heart disease. Accumulation of fat that exceeds your body’s physical and skeletal standards results in obesity. If you are obese, your heart must work harder to circulate blood to the extra tissue.
The chance of developing cardiovascular disease increases with age. As we age, our heart’s walls may thicken, and arteries may become harder, making the heart difficult to pump the blood throughout our body.
If your close relatives have cardiovascular disease before the age of 50, you are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. However, you can prevent it by controlling your risk factors.
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