Heart disease describes a number of conditions that affect the health of your heart. It can lead to arrhythmias or be the result of congenital defects in the heart itself. Genetics play a role in heart disease, but lifestyle changes can decrease your risk of heart problems.
At the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute, we’re experts at managing heart disease. Leading our team are two board-certified cardiologists, Dr. Hesham Fakhri and Dr. Abdulghani Saadi.
Dr. Fakhri and Dr. Saadi help you understand heart disease so you can modify your lifestyle to reduce your chances of complications.
Who’s at risk for heart disease?
Heart disease isn’t something that just pops up overnight. Typically, it’s due to years of unhealthy habits and chronic disease, but there’s also a genetic aspect to this condition. Some of the main risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Your age and family history also play a role in your risk of developing heart disease. For example, your risk for heart problems is higher if you’re a man over the age of 45 or a woman over the age of 55.
You’re also at a higher risk of developing heart disease if your siblings or parents had heart disease.
Consequences of heart disease
Heart disease is sometimes a silent killer, especially if you don’t make heart healthy choices. Common problems related to heart disease include:
The most severe consequence of heart disease is cardiac arrest, which can be fatal.
Habits that improve your heart health
You can lower your risk of heart disease and take control of your overall health by adopting some healthy lifestyle habits. While these changes don’t work overnight, they can significantly reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Smoking is one of the most modifiable factors when it comes to heart disease. The sooner you quit, the sooner your heart health changes for the better. Quitting isn’t easy, but it’s imperative for a healthy heart.
A heart healthy diet is one of the best ways to fight off heart disease. Monitor your intake of bad fats and sugar, and load up on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. If you have high cholesterol, watch your numbers to control your overall cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart problems.
Get some exercise
Exercise isn’t just important for your confidence; it’s also important to fight off heart disease. To start exercising, get up and move several times a day. Take a five-minute walk around the house, or enjoy a bike ride in the sun. Either way, you greatly reduce your risk of heart disease along the way.
Watch your weight
Losing weight goes a long way in preventing heart problems. Start with changes in your diet and incorporating light exercise a few times a week.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is underrated when it comes to your overall health. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it wreaks havoc on the rest of your body, including your heart. Aim for about 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Even small steps can improve your overall health and lower your risk of heart disease.
To learn more about preventing heart disease, call one of our offices in Wesley Chapel, Sun City Center, or Tampa, Florida, today. You can also request an appointment using our handy online tool.