Heart disease has several risk factors. Nearly half of all Americans have at least one. However, people may be able to help reduce their risk of heart disease by making lifestyle changes.
The term “heart disease” refers to
These conditions often do not cause any symptoms at first. People may not know they have heart disease until they experience symptoms of a serious event such as a heart attack. There is
This article explores some common risk factors for heart disease and tips to prevent it.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a
As a person’s blood pressure gets higher, their heart’s workload
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the liver produces. Some foods also contain cholesterol. People need some cholesterol to stay healthy.
According to the American Heart Association, foods that contain dietary cholesterol are
Two types of proteins
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: High levels of LDL cholesterol may cause plaque buildup in a person’s arteries. Doctors refer to this buildup as atherosclerosis. It increases a person’s risk of heart disease.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: High levels of HDL cholesterol may help lower someone’s risk of heart disease. This is because HDL cholesterol absorbs excess cholesterol in the blood and carries it back to the liver, which removes it from the body.
Having high LDL cholesterol levels may
Researchers believe the link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease
People with high blood cholesterol
High blood sugar as a result of diabetes may
People with diabetes are
People with overweight or obesity have excess levels of body fat, which has a
Smoking tobacco raises a person’s
- Cigarette smoke damages the heart and blood vessels.
- Nicotine increases blood pressure.
- Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen a person’s blood carries.
Secondhand smoke exposure also increases heart disease risk, even for people who do not smoke.
Other heart disease risk factors
Males and females are both at risk of developing heart disease. However, males are more likely to develop heart disease at a younger age, and females are more likely to develop heart disease after menopause or if they have experienced preeclampsia.
- eating a healthy diet
- limiting alcohol intake
- quitting smoking
- making efforts to maintain a moderate weight
- exercising regularly
Many people have at least one risk factor for heart disease, which can lead to serious health events such as heart attacks. However, people may be able to reduce their risk of heart disease by making lifestyle changes.
A person should speak with a healthcare professional about their individual risk for heart disease and the best ways to manage any risk factors.