Posted by Heart Hugger on Mar 22, 2019 10:33:06 AM
The significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, tobacco use, and obesity, putting nearly half of Americans at risk. Are you or a family member at risk? Here's a look.
- High blood pressure — New guidelines issued by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association mean you could be at risk of high blood pressure. Before November 2017, the standard for high blood pressure was a reading of 140/90 or higher. The updated standard defines 130/80 as a cause for concern, making even more Americans at risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Tobacco use — Smoking is known to be a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Nicotine use causes high blood pressure, elevated heart rates, and narrowing arteries. E-cigarette use is also considered a risk factor.
- Obesity — Obesity is a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease. Obesity and its associated risk factors (cardiovascular disease and a shortened lifespan) affect 39.6% of adults and 5.6% of youth in the U.S.
What You Can Do
The American Heart Association recommends some simple lifestyle changes that can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Manage your blood pressure. Keeping your blood pressure within the recommended healthy ranges reduces strain on your heart.
- Control your cholesterol. High cholesterol causes plaque and eventually, blocked arteries.
- Reduce your blood sugar. High blood sugar can cause damage to the heart and other organs.
- Lead an active lifestyle. Increasing your physical activity is a simple way to strengthen your heart.
- Make heart-healthy food choices. Prioritize heart-healthy foods to maintain your weight and reduce strain on your heart.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Shedding extra pounds reduces stress on the heart and other organs and can lower blood pressure.
- Quit smoking. Giving up smoking dramatically reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.