Have members of your family suffered from cardiovascular disease or other heart conditions? If so, you are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Family history is a key component when it comes to heart health. But your family genes don’t equal imminent doom. There are things you can control to lessen your risk of heart conditions.
Here are four things to avoid, ensuring your heart stays healthy as you age:
Consuming alcohol too frequently or in excess can be detrimental to your heart health. While it’s fine to have a glass of wine or a cocktail every now and then, the key is in moderation. Drinking too much alcohol can raise the levels of some fats in the blood (triglycerides). It can also lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, and an increased calorie intake.
Of the 800,000 deaths caused by cardiovascular disease in the U.S. annually, 20% of those cases are due to smoking. The chemicals in cigarettes damage your heart and blood vessels and thicken your blood, making you more prone to blood clots, heart attack and stroke. If you are already a smoker, talk to your doctor about ways to quit. Smoking is not only one of the worst things you can do to your heart, but it can also affect other aspects of your health, such as your lung health.
Staying active and in your recommended weight range is crucial when it comes to your heart health. Obesity and being overweight are linked to high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and high triglycerides, which increase your risk of heart failure. Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly and eating a heart-healthy diet. Your diet should include a lot of vegetables, low-fat proteins, and whole grains. This, along with at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, is a great way to keep your heart healthy.
High Blood Pressure
Know your blood pressure and maintain a healthy number. High blood pressure damages your arteries and can lead to coronary artery disease and other damage to your heart, brain and kidneys. Common causes of high blood pressure include stress, being overweight, drinking too much alcohol, and smoking. Avoiding these things can help you keep your numbers low and your heart healthy.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about your family history of heart disease or other heart conditions. Being honest with your physician can help you reduce your risk and help you live your healthiest life.
Dr. Bernard Gros is a board-certified cardiologist at UCF Health, treating patients in Lake Nona and East Orlando. For more information, visit ucfhealth.com.