It’s wonderful to have choices and so important to take to heart (pun intended) that many of the choices you make every day can impact your heart health.
Choosing to exercise and eat right every day is a decision that helps keep your heart in good working order. Opting to lie on the couch and eat junk food doesn’t do you or your heart any favors. Despite how simple this may seem; you might not realize how much of an effect these decisions have on the health of your heart. It’s especially important for habits that negatively impact key risk areas; risk areas such as cholesterol and blood pressure. These factors, along with others, are some of the leading contributors to heart disease.
Keep a careful eye on the five major causes of heart disease so you understand and can reduce your risk of developing this condition that affects your overall health.
Major Causes of Heart Disease
In most cases, the tendency to be challenged by heart disease is the result of genetics or poor health caused by smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and uncontrolled diabetes.
The most common danger associated with smoking is lung disease, but it can affect other areas of your body too. Smoking can make you two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than a non-smoker, especially if you smoke a pack or more every day.
Smoking can damage your blood vessels and restrict blood flow. It also raises your blood pressure and your heart rate, forcing your heart to work harder to supply your organs with oxygenated blood.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure has been connected to a number of health issues, but heart disease is among the most prevalent.
When your blood pressure is high, your arteries become damaged over time. Plaque builds up and narrows the arteries, and your heart pumps faster and harder to maintain blood flow. The extra effort enlarges the left ventricle, weakening your heart and often resulting in congestive heart failure.
As high blood sugar damages your blood vessels, developing diabetes can significantly increase your risk of heart disease,
When you develop diabetes, your body’s ability to produce nitric oxide is reduced. Nitric oxide functions as a vasodilator, which means it widens your blood vessels. Without it, your blood vessels narrow, restricting blood flow.
Additionally, high blood pressure frequently occurs in conjunction with diabetes, which increases your risk even further. This can manifest as peripheral artery disease (PAD), which limits blood flow to your legs.
Some cholesterol is necessary for your body to function regularly, but too much of the undesirable kind of cholesterol can lead to heart disease. The undesirable kind of cholesterol is the small, hard, dense type of LDL that is the result of a diet high in processed foods and low in whole foods. This type of cholesterol increases the amount of plaque in your blood vessels. Too much plaque narrows the vessels and inhibits blood flow.
If too much plaque builds up, these deposits can form a blockage that may result in a stroke or a heart attack.
Genetics can play a role in determining your likelihood of developing heart disease too. You’re more likely to have issues with blood flow and heart disease if a family member has it, especially if one of your parents or siblings has a heart attack before they turn 50.
There is good news though! This doesn’t mean you are fated to develop heart disease no matter what steps you take. With careful management of your health, including regular checkups with your health care provider and a commitment to making heart-healthy choices, you may significantly reduce your risk.
Reducing Your Risk Level
In many cases, reducing your risk of developing heart disease means adjusting your behaviors and taking your overall wellness seriously. You can keep your blood vessels in good working condition by making small changes to your daily habits and speaking to a medical professional.
Avoiding Harmful Behaviors
For causes of heart disease like smoking, the best thing you can do for your body is quit. Smoking can damage many different organs and tissues throughout your body (not just your heart), so you should make quitting a priority.
If you’re having trouble quitting, at least reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke in a day. Heavy smokers have a much higher risk of damaging their hearts. Becoming a light smoker can reduce your dependency and make quitting easier.
Treat the Root Causes
Many forms of heart disease treatment involve focusing on the root causes of damage to the heart and blood vessels. This means making healthier choices on a regular basis.
For example, you can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure by adjusting your diet. Reducing your consumption of processed and fast foods, cutting out large amounts of saturated fat, keeping your sugar consumption under control, and decreasing your salt content in your diet are all excellent healthy behaviors.
Getting just 30 minutes of exercise each day helps treat these conditions as well. Include some cardio to improve your heart health.
Speak With a Doctor About Heart Disease Treatment
If you have a family history of heart attacks and strokes, talk to your health care provider about monitoring your risk levels at your yearly medical appointments. Keeping track of changes in your blood pressure and cholesterol can help you stay on top of any potential issues through lifestyle changes.
The causes of heart disease come in many different forms; all of them are dangerous to your long-term health and wellness. If you are affected by any of these causes, make a resolution today to be more vigilant about taking good care of your heart to keep yourself healthy and strong.
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
I’m author, health coach, and entrepreneur Cheryl A Major, and I would love to connect with you! If you’re new to the world of creating better health, both mental and physical for yourself, please check out my training on how to get gluten out of your diet. Becoming Gluten Free Me is where to check it out. Learn how gluten affects us and how to go about reducing or eliminating it from your diet. You don’t have to suffer with Celiac Disease to benefit from getting gluten out of your life!
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