Heart disease is a major cause of death in the United States. Heart attacks caused by diseased coronary arteries are a major cause of heart disease. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen to your heart.
According to the American Heart Association, 6 major changeable factors increase your risk for coronary artery disease. They are:
- Smoking tobacco. Any amount of smoking increases your risk and the more you smoke, the higher your risk.
- High blood pressure, also called hypertension. The higher the blood pressure over 120/80 the more risk.
- Weight. Being overweight is a risk factor independent of the adverse effect it can have on your blood pressure and cholesterol. Recent studies have conceded that not all overweight people have an increased risk especially those whose fat accumulates around the hips and legs.
- High cholesterol. There are 2 main types of cholesterol. The high density lipoprotein (hdl) actually has a beneficial effect on heart disease. The higher the hdl the better. The bad one is the low density lipoprotein (ldl) which should be kept under 120 and, in people with known heart disease, under 100.
- Physical activity. Walking, or similar exercise, 30-60 minutes a day lowers your risk. Always check with your doctor before beginning a new program.
- Diabetes. No one has a cure for type 1 diabetes yet, where your pancreas does not produce insulin at all. However type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or kept under control by maintaining a normal, healthy weight and regular exercise. The earlier you start the lower your risk.
For completion’s sake, there are 3 other major risk factors you either can’t do anything about or probably don’t won’t to. They include increasing age, being a male and your inherited genes including race.