Heart disease is associated with several risk factors, such as obesity, physical inactivity, heavy drinking, smoking, an unhealthy diet, and poor blood pressure and cholesterol management. These factors, fortunately, are all preventable. Natural News’ new book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and Cardio-related Events, shares valuable tips on how to prevent these factors. (Related: Learn how to manage and eliminate the risk factors for heart disease by reading Natural News’ new book.)
Heart disease is a collective term for various problems related to the heart and blood vessels. These problems are often linked to atherosclerosis or the narrowing of the arteries. Atherosclerosis occurs when cholesterol, fats, and other substances build up in the arterial wall. When these accumulate, they clog the blood vessels, making it hard for blood to flow toward the heart. This can lead to blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.
Americans have a high risk of developing heart disease. According to statistics, about 47 percent have at least one of three key risk factors, namely, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking. Studies also suggest that the prevalence of heart attack among young adults (below 40 years old) is steadily increasing.
Ron Blankstein, a preventive cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, believes that the results of these studies highlight the importance of prevention.
“Many people think that a heart attack is destined to happen, but the vast majority could be prevented with earlier detection of the disease and aggressive lifestyle changes and management of risk factors,” Blankstein said. (Related: Prevent heart disease by learning how to manage and eliminate its risk factors with Natural News’ new book.)
Preventing heart disease is all about making smart and healthy choices, beginning with the food you eat and the amount of physical activity you engage in. Taking the first step doesn’t mean you need to go all the way immediately; small changes made one step at a time can make quite a difference when it comes to your heart health.
To point you to the right direction, here are some of the key risk factors for heart disease that you should aim to prevent or rid yourself of, if possible.
High blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension is damaging not only to your blood vessels, but also to your entire body. If left untreated, it can cause disabilities or even a fatal heart attack. Hypertension damages and narrows the arteries by gradually increasing the pressure of blood flowing through them. This causes healthy arteries to become less elastic over time and restricts blood flow throughout the body. Most people who don’t manage their hypertension eventually die of either heart disease or stroke.
High cholesterol. Cholesterol refers to the fatty molecules that are found in the blood. They are synthesized in the liver or the intestines and are also gleaned from food. Two main types of carrier transport cholesterol to and from cells: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL contains more fats than HDL and is one of the main causes of cholesterol buildup in the arteries. Hence, it is considered "bad" cholesterol. (Related: High cholesterol levels can be managed or avoided – learn how from our new book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and Cardio-related Events.)
Obesity. Obesity is a global epidemic and one of the most common health problems in the U.S. According to studies, one in three Americans is obese. Obesity is not only a risk factor for heart disease, it is also directly linked to other risk factors. Obese or overweight people often have high triglyceride and cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Obesity is also associated with the enlargement of the left ventricle, which increases a person’s risk of heart failure.
Diabetes. Poor management of diabetes can increase your risk of heart disease. Diabetics suffer from high blood glucose levels; if left unregulated, high blood glucose can damage blood vessels over time, along with the nerves connected to your heart. This leaves the heart more vulnerable and more likely to develop diseases. People with diabetes often develop heart disease while they’re young; heart disease and stroke are the most common causes of death among diabetics.
Smoking. Smoking is a habit that endangers your heart and makes you twice as likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. Like hypertension, smoking damages the inner lining of the arteries. The carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke also decreases the oxygen in your blood, making your heart work harder to keep oxygen levels in your body stable. Meanwhile, the nicotine in cigarettes stimulates the production of adrenaline, which increases your heartbeat and blood pressure and makes the heart pump harder.
Physical inactivity. Being physically inactive has dire consequences. People with low levels of physical activity are at risk of premature death due to heart disease. Studies also show that less active people have a 30 to 50 percent higher risk of hypertension than physically fit and active people. In terms of mortality, physical inactivity is said to be the cause of 35 percent of coronary heart disease mortality. Meanwhile, regular physical activity helps protect against cardiac episodes and reduces the risk of recurrent cardiac events. (Related: For a more comprehensive guide on drug-free preventive strategies and interventions, read Natural News’ new book.)
Heart disease is a seasoned killer, but it can be prevented by adjusting your lifestyle so that you can avoid or eliminate the risk factors for heart disease. Natural News’ new book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and Cardio-related Events can teach you everything you need to know about preventing and reversing heart disease the natural way – without using any drugs. Drug-free strategies not only save you money, they also save your body from the nasty side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.