Coronary heart disease occurs when a waxy substance known as plaque builds up on artery walls, depriving the heart of the oxygen rich blood it needs. This reduced blood flow can cause chest pain and may lead to a heart attack. According to the CDC, over 600,000 Americans die of heart disease every year. Are you at risk of being one of them? A Hackensack Cardiologist outlines the most common risk factors associated with heart disease below.
What should Hackensack residents know about heart disease risk factors?
Heart disease risk factors may be broken down into two larger categories: factors that are out of a patient’s control and factors that may be addressed with lifestyle changes. Age, sex, and family history are the three major areas of risk that cannot be controlled. Patients are more likely to experience artery damage and thickened heart muscle as they age. Men tend to have a higher rate of heart disease than women (though women find themselves at greater risk after menopause). Finally, patients are more likely to suffer heart disease if close family members also experienced this issue.
Heart care specialists in Hackensack encourage patients to focus on their lifestyle when attempting to lower their risk of heart disease. Smoking cessation is one of the most notable lifestyle changes patients can make to better their heart health. By quitting, patients no longer subject themselves to carbon dioxide (which can damage blood vessel linings) and nicotine (which causes blood vessels to constrict). There is a strong correlation between smoking and heart attack risk. Quitting can significantly improve a patient’s cardiovascular health.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are two more risk factors for heart disease. Allowing high blood pressure to continue unchecked leads to hard, thick arteries. This gives blood less space to flow, potentially reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches the heart. High levels of cholesterol may increase plaque formation.
Poor diet, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle can all make other vein disease risk factors worse. Poor diets, especially those high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and salt, can lead to high cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This type of diet can also lead to obesity, which is linked to poor cholesterol numbers and high blood pressure. A lack of physical activity can cause obesity to worsen, while regular exercise can help improve levels of risk.
What can patients do if they already have heart disease?
Patients with heart disease can still take steps to improve their situation. Reaching out to a heart doctor in Hackensack is a good place to start. A heart doctor can help patients understand the root cause of their heart issues as well as advise them on the best lifestyle changes to decrease their levels of risk.
If you need a cardiologist in Hackensack, we hope that you will reach out to us at Cross County Cardiology. Our experienced and compassionate staff is here to guide you through your fight against heart disease. We would love to speak with you further about the ways we can help you live a longer, healthier life, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at 201-299-4479 or go online to schedule a consultation.