Risk Factors for Heart Disease - Are You at Risk?

Heart disease is the number one killer among adults today. It is also the number one cause of disability. Heart disease can take many forms such as congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease and many others. Heart disease may also be triggered by a virus or an episode of severe illness. It is important that you learn what your risks are for developing heart disease and the steps that you can take to avoid heart disease. This article will give you some very important tips on your risks factors and how to prevent heart disease.

The first thing that we will look at is risk factors of heart disease that are beyond your control. Heredity plays a big part in your risk for heart disease. If your father, mother or grandparents all had heart disease then you need to be very aware that your risk for developing heart disease is very high. Another risk factor is age. The older you get the higher your risk becomes. The last risk factor that is beyond your control is gender. Males tend to have a higher risk for heart disease than women do.

High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease that you have some control over. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is manufactured by the body and travels in the blood to various parts of the body. Cholesterol is important because it is vital in the production hormones, bile acid and vitamin D. Cholesterol can be divided into two groups. The LDL cholesterol is the type that can be harmful if too much of it builds up in your bloodstream. It will stick to the walls of the arteries and form blockages that can cut off blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack. The HDL cholesterol is the component of cholesterol that is responsible for carrying the excess to the liver to be processed and eliminated from your body. It is a good idea to have your total cholesterol levels checked periodically and to eat a low- fat, healthy diet. Plenty of exercise can also go a long way in keeping your cholesterol levels under control.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. The higher your blood pressure, the harder your heart is working to pump the blood through your system. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is like running a four cylinder car at it's top speed for an extended period of time. Eventually the car's engine will blow up. The same thing can happen to your body if you do not keep your blood pressure under control.

Smoking will increase your risk for heart disease. Smoking will interrupt the transport of much needed oxygen to every major organ in your body. It will also constrict blood vessels, narrow your arteries and decrease your lung capacity. These are just a few of the side effects from smoking. A smoker's risk for heart disease will be four times as much as a non-smoker. The single most important thing you can do for your health is to stop smoking right away.

Inactivity and obesity increase your risk for heart disease. If you have a sedentary lifestyle and you notice that the pounds are packing on, get moving now. A good exercise program can go a long way in preventing major health problems.

This is just a few of the risk factors for heart disease. Your heart is the single most important organ of the body. You only have one, so please take good care of it.

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