Posts tagged ‘Body Mass Index’

Longer Life: 4 Heart Disease Risk Factors and 4 Ways to Lower Them

February is American Heart Month. To “celebrate”, families around the world should be learning about heart health and how to keep living longer with a healthy heart. The key to a living a healthier life is to know the heart disease risks and how to lower those risks safely.

Often people blame genetics are heart health, but the fact is many risks are increased by an unhealthy lifestyle.  Here are the four most common heart risk factors mentioned in Woman’s Day Magazine, most you already know about.

4 Common Heart Disease Risk Factors

1. Diabetes. This disease has crept up to become one of the most common diseases among adults. Adult onset diabetes, type 2, is often caused by lifestyle choices. If you are over the age of 45 and you are overweight, you need to get your blood glucose test done now. In most cases, it can be done with a simple finger prick blood test. Type 2 diabetes makes you twice as likely to develop heart disease.

2. High cholesterol. There are two types of cholesterol: the good (HDL) and the bad (LDL). A high build of the bad cholesterol will bring up your heart attack risk 72 percent. High cholesterol is not always associated with your weight, although those with a higher weight often have high cholesterol.

3. High blood pressure. Stress, a bad diet and lack of exercise all contribute to high blood pressure. High blood pressure can raise your heart attack risk factor by almost 200 percent.

4. Your weight. Sadly, being overweight puts a lot of stress on your organs, especially your heart. You should aim for a body mass index of less than 25.

 

4 Ways to Lower Common Heart Disease Risk Factors

While the risk factors may seem like gloom and doom, here are 4 proven ways to lower your risk of heart disease.

1.  Stay away from smoking. Smoking is bad for your breath, your nails, your lungs and your heart. Smokers are 100 percent more predisposed to heart disease than nonsmokers. Consider quitting today with a Nicotine patch, gum and the support of family and friends.

2. Exercise. Exercising is the magic solution to many health problems. And it should be no surprise that good, regular exercise is one of the easiest ways to lower your heart disease risk. Thirty minutes a day of cardio and 20 minutes twice a week of strength training is the bare minimum for living a healthy lifestyle.

3. Ditch Western-style diets. A western diet consists of processed foods, minimal fresh fruits and veggies and plenty of fats. This diet alone is fighting hard against your heart. Doctors suggest a “Mediterranean-style” diet while is based in vegetables and fruits, whole grains and good proteins like fish. This diet tends to be higher in “healthy” fats like nuts, olives and avocados.

4. Keep your stress levels down. High stress situations are impossible to avoid, but high stress all of the time is a recipe for disaster. The trick is to find something that relaxes you- listening to music, reading, playing a game, laughing with a friend, and do it every day. Your heart will thank you.

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