One in four deaths are attributed to heart disease in the United States. That works out to about 610,000 people who die from the disease each year, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women. That’s the bad news, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, there is also good news. You can prevent heart disease by knowing what causes it and by making lifestyle adjustments.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are major risk factors that affect heart health. Smoking is also one of the greatest risks that people take, moving them closer to a heart event. Unfortunately, for nearly half of the American population, all three of these risks are in play.
A poor diet, obesity, and inactivity add to the risks of heart disease, as does drinking alcohol in excess. If addressed, these lifestyle choices can profoundly turn the tide toward good heart health. If you have a high level of triglycerides, which is a type of fat in the blood and related to cholesterol, it also raises your risk of heart disease.
Practical Steps to Defend Heart Health
Get to an ER If Alarming Symptoms Arise
If any acute symptoms appear that have you concerned, it’s best to proceed to the nearest hospital emergency room instead of waiting for a regular doctor appointment.
Pains in the chest or shortness of breath could indicate a heart attack event.
See Your Doctor
Barring any emergencies, the first step toward ensuring a healthy heart is to speak with your health care professional, especially if you’ve experienced discomfort in your chest that could be heart-related.
Schedule a regular appointment with your physician and be sure to communicate any symptoms. Your family health history will also be taken into account, as heart disease is often hereditary. The doctor may listen to your heart and order blood work for testing. If test results or the exam leads the doctor to have questions regarding your heart health, you may be referred to a cardiologist.
Control Your Blood Pressure
Controlling high blood pressure is critical to heart health. When cholesterol levels are high, it tends to block arteries and increase blood pressure, which raises the chance of a heart attack. Your doctor may prescribe medications to lower cholesterol.
Watch What You Eat
Talk with your doctor or nutritionist about a low-cholesterol diet. Paying attention to what you eat can have a profoundly positive effect on your heart health. A healthy diet that limits saturated fats, salt intake, and compound sugars helps lower high blood pressure, and cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood – which helps you lose weight that strains the heart.
If you smoke, stop. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Smoking places you at risk for high blood pressure and a heart attack. Once you quit, your risk goes down. If willpower isn’t enough to get you to quit, speak with your doctor for suggestions on how you can become less dependent on nicotine.
Keep Blood Sugar Managed
As if it didn’t come with enough concerns already, diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease. Diabetes gone unchecked allows high blood sugar levels to cause damage to blood vessels and nerves in your heart. Make an effort to manage your blood sugar properly if you have diabetes. Your doctor will adjust your diet and medications to help protect you.
Internal Medicine Expertise in Wellington
If you have symptoms that could lead to heart disease, don’t ignore them. Start today to make lifestyle changes that will lead to a healthier heart. Our medical team at Advanced Medical Clinic can assess your condition and move you in the right direction.
Same-day appointments are available. Call us at (561) 434-1935, or you can request an appointment using our online form.