According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Several health conditions,
your lifestyle, and your age and family history can increase your risk
for heart disease. These are called risk factors. About
half of all Americans (47%) have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease:
high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.1
Some of the risk factors for heart disease cannot be controlled, such as
your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk
by changing the factors you
Learn more about heart disease risk factors Conditions, Behaviors and Family History
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is a medical condition that
occurs when the pressure of the blood in your arteries and other blood
vessels is too high. The high pressure, if not controlled, can affect
your heart and other major organs of your body, including your kidneys
High blood pressure is often called a “silent killer” because
many people do not notice symptoms to signal high blood pressure. Lowering
blood pressure by changes in lifestyle or by medication can reduce your
risk for heart disease and heart attack.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made by the liver or found in certain foods.
Your liver makes enough for your body’s needs, but we often get
more cholesterol from the foods we eat. If we take in more cholesterol
than the body can use, the extra cholesterol can build up in the walls
of the arteries, including those of the heart. This leads to narrowing
of the arteries and can decrease the blood flow to the heart, brain, kidneys,
and other parts of the body.
Some cholesterol is “good,” and some is “bad.”
High cholesterol is the term used for high levels of low-density lipoprotein,
or LDL, which are considered “bad” because they can lead to
heart disease. A higher level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol,
or HDL, is considered “good” because it provides some protection
against heart disease.
A blood test can detect the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides (a
related kind of fat) in your blood.
Diabetes mellitus also increases the risk for heart disease. Your body needs glucose (sugar)
for energy. Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that helps move
glucose from the food you eat to your body’s cells. If you have
diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin, can’t use
its own insulin as well as it should, or both.
Diabetes causes sugars to build up in the blood. The risk of death from
heart disease for adults with diabetes is higher than adults who do not
have diabetes.1 Talk to your doctor about ways to
manage diabetes and control other risk factors.
Behavior: Your lifestyle choices can increase your risk for heart disease and heart
attack. To reduce your risk, your doctor may recommend changes to your
lifestyle. The good news is that healthy behaviors can lower your risk
for heart disease.
Unhealthy Diet - Diets high in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol
have been linked to heart disease and related conditions, such as atherosclerosis.
Also, too much
salt(https://www.cdc.gov/salt/index.htm) (sodium) in the diet can raise blood pressure levels.
Physical Inactivity - Not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease. It also
can increase the chances of having other medical conditions that are risk
factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and
diabetes. Regular physical activity can lower your risk for heart disease.
Obesity - Obesity is excess body fat. Obesity is linked to higher “bad”
cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to lower “good” cholesterol
levels. In addition to heart disease, obesity can also lead to high blood
pressure and diabetes. Talk to your health care team about a plan to reduce
your weight to a healthy level.
Too Much Alcohol- Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure levels and the risk
for heart disease. It also increases levels of triglycerides, a form of
cholesterol, which can harden your arteries. Women should have no more
than 1 drink a day. Men should have no more than 2 drinks a day.
Tobacco Use - Tobacco use increases the risk for heart disease and heart attack. Cigarette
smoking can damage the heart and blood vessels, which increases your risk
for heart conditions such as atherosclerosis and heart attack. Also, nicotine
raises blood pressure, and carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen
that your blood can carry. Exposure to other people’s secondhand
smoke can increase the risk for heart disease even for nonsmokers.
Family History - Family members share genes, behaviors, lifestyles, and environments
that can influence their health and their risk for disease. Heart disease
can run in a family, and your risk for heart disease can increase based
on your age, and your race, or ethnicity.
Fayette County Memorial Hospital is fortunate to have Dr. Bruce Auerbach,
Cardiologist in the Specialty Clinic. With over 30 years experience in
cardiology, Dr. Auerbach welcomes new patients at the Medical Arts Building
2 office, 1510 Columbus Avenue. The cardiopulmonary department is staffed
24 hours a day and performs a variety of tests including stress test,
electrocardiograms (EKG), Pulmonary Function Tests, Echocardiograms (Heart
Echo) and Doppler studies. To schedule an appointment, call central scheduling
And to find out the latest about Heart Health, don’t miss a chance
to hear from Dr. Auerbach directly at the Healthy University Heart Health
Class, Wednesday, May 2nd, 5pm in Medical Arts Building 2, 1510 Columbus Avenue. To register for
this free class, visit fcmh.org or call 740.333.2710.