Keeping your health in the best shape possible is important, and sometimes that means nothing more than identifying what you are at risk for and what steps you can take to reduce those risks. In particular, heart diseases and cardiovascular issues are among the most common and the most dangerous. Cardiovascular disease and heart related issues remain one of the country’s biggest killers, and a lot of different risk factors have a direct impact on heart health.
Luckily, unlike some disease like cancer, there are numerous steps that you can take to reduce your chances of developing heart related issues and to improve your health outright. The first step is to take some time to evaluate your overall level of cardiovascular risk.
According to medical professionals, there are several different risk factors worth looking at when assessing your risk levels. These include:
- Alcohol Use
- Where You Work
- Where You Live
- Exercise Levels
Each of these factors can play a direct or indirect role in your potential development of cardiovascular disease, your risk of heart attack or stroke, and much more. As a result, it’s important to take a closer look at each of them individually.
This is one of the single biggest risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Smoking is directly linked to increase risk of heart attack, heart disease, and a wide range of other cardiovascular disease. In fact, about 10% of all cardiovascular disease is linked to smoking. And when you consider that those who quit smoking before the age of 30 have almost as low a risk of heart disease related death as non-smokers, it becomes clear that this is one of the key risk factors you have to consider.
Physical inactivity is actually the fourth leading risk factor for mortality around the nation, and a huge amount of that mortality comes from heart disease and cardiovascular issues. Recent studies found that more than 30 percent of adults weren’t physical active enough. Insufficient physical activity is defined as less than 30 minutes of moderate activity five times a week, and it’s important that you consider this.
There are numerous reasons that exercise impacts heart health, and in addition to simply helping strengthen heart muscles it also influences:
- Blood pressure
- Blood glucose control
- Weight loss
- And much more
Simply put, physical activity levels are incredibly important to your cardiovascular health, and it is vital that you focus on improving the amount of time you spend exercising each week in order to lower risk levels.
Diet also directly impacts your cardiovascular health. Recently, the World Health Organization stated that low fruit and vegetable consumption is linked to about 1.7 million deaths each year. And the intake of saturated fat, trans-fats, and salt only help to reduce your overall level of cardiovascular health. Poor diet can lead to obesity, high cholesterol, and a wide range of other cardiovascular disease issues. Eating high-fat, high salt foods in moderation is important, and focusing on heart-healthy options is as well.
The two points listed above combine to create obesity, and if you are eating poorly and not exercising, obesity could be a very real issue for you. It’s also a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and places extreme strain on your heart and cardio system. Losing weight is important for improving your cardiovascular health, and it’s important that you pay attention to this aspect of your heart health.
There are some conflicting studies about alcohol use. While it’s true that studies show that small amounts of alcohol each day can improve some aspects of heart health, drinking high levels of alcohol has been directly linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease. When it comes to drinking alcohol, it’s important to remember that moderation is the key. Avoiding heavy drinking is the best option for your heart health, and a glass of wine a day could actually help improve overall cardiovascular health.
Where You Live
Most people don’t realize it, but where you live might directly impact your overall heart health in certain ways. In particular, environmental factors like pollution could impact your heart health. Additionally, those in certain areas may be less inclined to exercise due to things like the weather or lack of support from friends. It’s important to assess what it is about your current location that could be influencing heart health, and take steps to change it if need be.
Where You Work
Even more important to consider is your work situation. This can influence your cardiovascular risk for better or for worse. For instance:
- Those who work in smoke filled environments could be breathing in second-hand smoke that is impacting their cardiovascular health.
- Those with physically strenuous jobs could actually be helping their heart by getting in physical activity every day on the job.
- Conversely, those with a sedentary ‘desk’ job might be adding to their heart related problems by spending each day sitting behind a desk.
- Another issue could be those who work in fast food or other restaurant environments. This close proximity to high-fat foods might lead to increased chance of eating those foods, which in turn could reduce cardiovascular health.
In short, you need to take a look at where you work and determine whether or not it is having any kind of influence on your cardiovascular health. If it is, you might need to take steps to change it.
Some people are simply predisposed to cardiovascular and heart related issues. If there is a history of heart disease in your family, you might have an increased risk of suffering from it and as a result you will need to pay careful attention to the other factors listed above.
Simply put, you need to spend time giving your life an honest assessment. If you find that there are numerous risk factors that are increasing your chances of cardiovascular disease, you should spend time making the needed changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce those risk factors. It could directly impact your overall lifespan and your health during your lifetime.