Who is Most at Risk for Heart Disease?

Understanding the Risks of Heart Disease

Heart disease, also referred to as cardiovascular disease, is one of the leading causes of death in Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While the risk of heart disease increases with age, you’re never too young to worry about having heart trouble. Many factors determine who is most at risk. Here are the risk factors you should know:

High Blood Pressure

Patients with high blood pressure are more at risk of heart disease. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can cause damage to your arteries, and it can do so stealthily without any symptoms. Your arteries are vital to the function of your heart, and when arteries are damaged, they can cause the following diseases of the heart:

  • Coronary artery disease causes arteries to narrow and limit the blood supply to your heart.
  • Enlarged and thickening of the left ventricle happens when your heart must work harder to pump blood throughout your body.
  • Heart failure happens when blood pressure is high enough to cause the heart muscle to strain and weaken.

High Cholesterol

Having high cholesterol can put you at an increased risk of heart disease. When too much cholesterol builds up in your blood, it causes the walls of your arteries to become blocked. As mentioned above, when arteries are damaged and narrowed, it can slow down the blood flow to your heart.

Since oxygen is also needed for proper heart function, and blood carries oxygen, lack of both sufficient oxygen and blood to the heart can cause a heart attack.

Smoking

While smoking is typically associated with the risk of developing lung cancer, this bad habit is also a significant risk factor of heart disease. Smoking tobacco products can have the following negative impact on your heart health:

  • Limits oxygen to your heart
  • Increases blood pressure
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Raises heart rate
  • Damage to blood vessels

Obesity

Being overweight or obese can be a risk factor in developing heart disease since it is linked to the following other diseases that can be detrimental to heart health:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Enlarged left ventricle

A family history of heart disease and obesity can also play a role in the increased risk of developing heart disease.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase your chances of obesity, which leads to heart disease. Making changes to your everyday routine and including activities to get you moving can lower your risk of developing a heart-related condition. Making even the smallest changes can give you the motivation to make better, healthier lifestyle choices.

Contact Parrish Healthcare Today

If you are concerned about your risk in developing heart disease, take our FREE HeartAware Risk Assessment for a personal snapshot of your heart health. For more information about heart disease prevention and treatments, contact the Parrish Healthcare Cardiovascular Team at 321-268-6111. We are happy to help you with all your cardiovascular concerns and needs.

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