Approximately one American dies each minute from heart disease, making it the leading cause of death among both men and women in the nation. Fortunately, by learning about the risk factors, you can become proactive in preventing or significantly reducing your chances of heart disease.
While genetics plays a role in the establishment of a person's risk, there are many factors that affect your risk of heart disease that can be controlled, modified or treated.
Common risk factors for heart disease include:
High Blood Pressure - Years of high blood pressure can lead to heart disease. A check up with your doctor can identify if you have high blood pressure and recommendations for controlling it.
Smoking - The recommendation here is to quit. Again, if you have trouble quitting, your doctor can recommend programs or products to help you.
Diabetes - Have your blood glucose checked regularly. If you have high blood sugar your physician can recommend a course of treatment. The right diet, exercise and medications are essential.
High Cholesterol - A high cholesterol level may mean a potential for clogged arteries. A blood test can determine your cholesterol level and your physician can offer various treatment options for controlling it, including medications, diet and exercise.
Diet - Maintaining your BMI (Body Mass Index) at an appropriate level is very important to a healthy heart. Diet, exercise and drinking alcohol in moderation, are all important ways to maintain a healthy diet.
Stress - There are many ways you can lower your stress level. Spending time with friends or family, hobbies, reading, meditation or even exercise can relive stress and help to lower blood pressure.
Taking an active role in your healthcare and recognizing your risk factors is critically important to maintaining good health. "Educating yourself and maintaining open communication with your physician can be just as important as eating healthy and exercising," said Dr. Suresh Rekhraj, Lexington Clinic Cardiologist. Identifying the symptoms of heart disease early will allow for better management of conditions and lead to a longer, heart healthy life. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 859-258-4DOC (4362).
Lexington Clinic is Central Kentucky's largest and oldest medical group. We have more than 200 providers in more than 30 specialties taking care of 600,000+ patients in the Lexington community since 1920.