Lifestyle and Heart Disease

  • Lifestyle Causes for Heart Disease
    It is a well-established fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA, for men and for women. While family history and age are contributing factors that cannot be controlled, there are several lifestyle influences that may cause heart disease. Factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol level, diabetes, smoking, weight, and exercise, can be modified to improve the condition and strength of the heart muscle. In many cases, heart disease can be managed and controlled through lifestyle changes. The following list identifies some of the leading causes for heart problems:

    • High Blood Pressure
    • Heart Valve Disease
    • Pericardium Disease (In the Tissue Surrounding the Heart)
    • Chemical and Drug Abuse (Alcohol, Cocaine, Certain Types of Chemotherapy)
    • Medical Conditions (Obesity, Extreme Anemia, Thyroid Disease, Diabetes)

    While the cause of heart disease cannot always be determined, cardiovascular disease usually is defined by several different types of arterial/heart problems. Atherosclerosis, caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries, may create drastic (potentially fatal) results. The arteries are vessels that carry nutrients and oxygen from the heart to the entire body. Healthy, flexible, and strong arteries efficiently support the entire circulatory system. As a person ages, however, arterial walls may become more rigid and less flexible, plaque can build up, and clots may form. Blood flow can become restricted. Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is a frequent cause of heart problems. Lack of exercise, poor diet, obesity, drug abuse, and smoking are primary contributing factors, often culminating in heart disease.

    Lifestyle and Heart Disease
    When you are diagnosed with a heart condition, or after you have suffered a heart attack, your doctor will usually recommend that you modify your lifestyle. While medications can help, underlying health factors often play a major role in the condition of your heart. Lifestyle changes are often necessary to control risk factors, correct problems, and restore good health.
    Heart risk factors include:

    • High blood pressure
    • Smoking and substance abuse
    • Obesity and weight problems
    • High levels of unhealthy cholesterol and fat levels
    • Diabetes
    • Lack of Exercise
    • Age – 55 and over for men and 65 and over for women
    • A family history of heart conditions

    While some factors cannot be controlled (i.e. age and heredity), the majority of risk-factors are connected to choices that you make throughout the day, thereby affecting the health of your heart.  A few simple changes can help:

    • Lower blood pressure
    • Ease the stress on your heart
    • Lower unhealthy fat and cholesterol levels
    • Lessen the risk of suffering a stroke
    • Reduce stress
    • Prolong your life!

    Some of the changes that you can make in lifestyle include:

    • A healthy diet
    • Weight loss
    • Quitting smoking
    • Cutting down on alcohol consumption
    • Adjustments in medications
    • Lowering sodium levels
    • Reducing stress
    • Proper exercise

    Smoking represents one of the greatest risk factors. Poor diet, prolonged stress, over-eating, and lack of exercise are other factors that significantly raise your risk for health problems and heart attack. However, by making significant lifestyle changes you can lower the risk-factors, prevent certain types of heart disease, and improve your overall health!