4 Heart-Related Conditions You Can Work to Prevent
Here's a heart-stuttering statistic: Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. dies from heart disease. Many of those deaths could be prevented. How? Start with being better informed about what it takes to keep your heart healthy. Below are four common heart-related conditions and tips on preventing them.
High blood pressure
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure factors into more than 40 percent of heart-related deaths. The condition occurs when the force of blood on your artery walls is too high for a long period of time. Why the concern? High blood pressure doesn't cause any symptoms, but it can still seriously damage the body. In particular, it can raise your risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) and stroke.
Your body normally produces a certain level of cholesterol, a fat-like substance found in the blood. Cholesterol levels can become too high, though. One major reason: Eating foods with lots of saturated fats and cholesterol. Being overweight is another leading cause. Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol has no symptoms. And it, too, contributes to your risk for CAD.
Coronary artery disease
One of the most common types of heart disease, CAD develops when the arteries that supply heart muscle with blood gradually become filled with plaque - a substance made of cholesterol, calcium, and fat. As this plaque coats the artery walls, it hardens, narrowing the arteries in a process called atherosclerosis. If the plaque blocks blood flow to the heart, it can cause a heart attack.
Peripheral artery disease
Like CAD, peripheral artery disease (PAD) develops because of the buildup of plaque on the artery walls. But PAD affects arteries elsewhere in the body - most often those in the legs. Many people with PAD have no symptoms. But some people may feel pain or numbness in the legs when walking or doing other physical activity.
Preventing these conditions
You can't change some risk factors for these four heart-related conditions, including growing older and having a family history. But you can lower your risk with healthy lifestyle choices. Plus, taking steps to prevent even one heart condition, such as high blood pressure, can help protect your heart from other related conditions. Start with the following:
Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.
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