Did you know that every 1 of 3 Americans is at risk of heart disease? While there are many factors that contribute to overall heart health, research points to a few common contributors that have a lasting, negative impact. While the effects differ for each person, these factors are, for the most part, highly preventable.
For the last 80 years, heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the U.S. and, in 2019 alone, was the cause of almost 1 million deaths nationwide. While we know that lowering your risk of heart disease begins with leading a healthy lifestyle, what exactly should you focus on? Here are your most common heart health concerns addressed with the help of our NorthCrest medical professionals:
1. High Cholesterol / High Blood Pressure
It’s common knowledge that high blood pressure and cholesterol increase your risk for heart disease greatly. But when they are both elevated, your risks multiply exponentially. While your doctor may prescribe a medication to help lower your levels, eating a healthy diet low in saturated fats and high in omega-3 fatty acids is a simple way to regulate both blood pressure and cholesterol.
2. Physical Inactivity
Another major concern of heart health is extended periods of physical inactivity. The easiest way to combat this is–you guessed it–increasing your daily physical activity. With just 30 minutes of physical activity a day, you drastically reduce your risk not only of heart disease, but many other general health concerns. Your heart is a muscle and, similar to other muscles in the body, it needs to be worked and strengthened regularly to ensure it functions properly. With regular exercise, you not only lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, but you also improve overall blood circulation and are better able to achieve solid cholesterol levels.
Obesity is one of the most threatening contributors to heart disease. Along with having a negative impact on other areas of your health, obesity takes a major toll on your overall heart health. Not only does a higher BMI influence your cholesterol levels, but it causes your blood pressure to elevate and has been shown as a direct contributor to type 2 diabetes. The simplest way to reduce the effects of a high BMI? Maintaining a healthy diet and increasing your daily exercise.
If you are one of the 30.3 million Americans living with diabetes, you’ve likely been made aware of its correlation with heart disease. To help reduce this risk, our medical professionals recommend closely monitoring and regulating your blood glucose levels as well as your blood pressure and cholesterol.
According to the Center for Disease Control, smoking is a primary factor in one of every four cardiovascular deaths. For people smoking even less than 5 cigarettes a day, there is a greater increase in their risk of heart disease. Not only that, but direct and repeated exposure to secondhand smoke can also lead to cardiac events such as a stroke and/or heart attack. If you’re a smoker and want to quit, we can help; NorthCrest offers free smoking cessation services – just call 615-384-1714 to set an appointment with a respiratory therapist.
If you are interested in learning more about your heart health, Heartview at NorthCrest is a quick calcium scoring test that evaluates your risk for cardiovascular events and diseases. Using advanced technology, Heartview produces detailed, 3-D images of the heart which are examined more closely by our heart and vascular experts.
At NorthCrest Health, we’re committed to providing an exceptional level of care by giving your body the attention it deserves. To learn more about NorthCrest Heart and Lung Care, visit our website or give us a call at 615-384-2411.