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5 THINGS TO KNOW: What are some of the risks for heart disease?

McAlester News-Capital - 2/15/2024

Feb. 15—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives information about the risk for Heart Disease during American Heart Month.

1 What health conditions increase the risk of heart disease?

Several health conditions such as high blood pressure, unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, diabetes, and obesity increase the risk of heart disease.

2 What behaviors increase the risk of heart disease?

Eating a diet high in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol has been linked to heart disease and related conditions, such as atherosclerosis. Also, too much salt (sodium) in the diet can raise blood pressure.

Not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease. It can also increase the chances of having other medical conditions that are risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular physical activity can lower your risk for heart disease.

Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure levels and the risk for heart disease. It also increases levels of triglycerides, a fatty substance in the blood which can increase the risk for heart disease.

Tobacco use increases the risk for heart disease and heart attack.

3 How do genetics and family history affect the risk of heart disease?

When members of a family pass traits from one generation to another through genes, that process is called heredity.

Genetic factors likely play some role in high blood pressure, heart disease, and other related conditions. However, it is also likely that people with a family history of heart disease share common environments and other factors that may increase their risk.

The risk for heart disease can increase even more when heredity combines with unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking cigarettes and eating an unhealthy diet.

4 Do age and sex affect the risk of heart disease?

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. Heart disease can happen at any age, but the risk goes up as you age.

5 Do race and ethnicity affect the risk of heart disease?

Heart disease and stroke can affect anyone, but some groups are more likely to have conditions that increase their risk for cardiovascular disease. The disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and white people. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and Hispanics, heart disease is second only to cancer.

—Derrick James

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