Heart disease is the number one cause of death in both men and women, and it’s a leading cause of disability. Heart problems are often caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries, which causes hardening or narrowing. This accumulation can lead to a blockage that causes a heart attack, stroke, or internal bleeding. The process is very important for keeping your heart healthy as well as keeping you alive.
In this article, we will discuss the basic facts about what causes heart disease and how to prevent it. We will also look at some simple lifestyle changes you can make to protect your heart. But before we get started, here is a quick look at some facts about heart health:
Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States, and it is a leading cause of disability. Plaque in your arteries can cause hardening or narrowing of the arteries, which in turn leads to a blockage that causes a heart attack, stroke, or internal bleeding. Heart attacks are caused when plaque ruptures and cuts off blood supply to an area of your heart muscle. Heart attacks usually happen when the heart is working harder than normal.
Every year, about 700,000 Americans will have a heart attack, and more than 500,000 will suffer a stroke. Strokes can lead to long-term disability or death. More than 17 million people in the United States (1 in 3) have some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart disease or stroke. By 2020, that number is expected to grow to 1 in 2. High blood pressure has no symptoms, but often it can be treated before it leads to other problems. It can be hard to tell if you have high blood pressure because it often causes no symptoms.
The good news is that heart disease is now the number one killer of men and women in the world, and it is a leading cause of disability. People in many other countries, especially those in Asia, have much lower rates of heart disease than Americans, but still too much.
Heart Disease Causes
What causes heart disease? Why does plaque build-up in your arteries? The answer to this question can be found by looking at your lifestyle and focusing on what you eat and drink as well as the amount of exercise you get each week. We will give you a few facts about these things first.
- Smoking is the leading cause of heart disease, and secondhand smoke kills as many as 7,000 people every year in the United States alone. It also causes 85,000 premature deaths each year in women and 44,000 premature deaths in men. We don’t mean to scare you away from smoking, but we do want to make sure you know all the facts about it before you light up!
- Obesity is also a major cause of death from heart disease. In other words, a high BMI increases your risk.
- High cholesterol is also a big factor in the development of heart disease. In fact, 35% to 40% of all heart disease cases have been linked to high cholesterol levels. The risk of heart disease is due to LDL levels that are mostly caused by obesity and lifestyle factors such as smoking and lack of exercise.
- What you eat contributes greatly to whether or not you will develop heart disease down the road. And what you drink matters too! A diet rich in saturated fats and trans fats can lead to hardening or narrowing of the arteries, which could cause a heart attack or stroke down the road.
- You can dramatically decrease your risk of developing heart disease with simple lifestyle changes. These changes include eating a healthy diet, eliminating tobacco, staying at a healthy weight, getting plenty of exercises, and managing stress.
- The good news is that you can do something to prevent heart disease right now! And the best part is that these lifestyle changes are easy to make and will increase your quality of life in many ways! Most importantly, you’ll extend your life in the process.
- If you’ve already had a heart attack or stroke, changing your diet and lifestyle may save your life. You can also lower your cholesterol levels.
- If you know someone who has heart disease, tell them to eat healthily, exercise frequently, and take their medications as directed.
Stress is another major cause of heart disease that many people do not realize is at fault. Stress can cause blood vessels to contract or dilate (get smaller or larger). When they dilate too much, it can lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Life changes, such as a new relationship, divorce, or the death of a loved one.
Work-related problems, such as high levels of stress from deadlines or constant job changes.
Financial issues, such as losing a job or your home to foreclosure.
The negative way you think about yourself and your life. For example, “I have no one to turn to,” or “my life is going nowhere.”
Lack of physical exercise. Stressful situations cause the body to react with adrenaline and cortisol, which can lead to a stress condition. Someone who is chronically stressed may feel an increased heart rate and their blood pressure can rise.
Stress is a major cause of heart disease. To lower your stress levels, try some deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or prayer. Get plenty of exercises and eat a healthy diet to help you cope better with stress and improve your cardiovascular health as well as your life.
Some people think they should never feel stressed. But the truth is that stress is a normal part of life that everyone experiences. It’s only when the stress gets out of control that it becomes a problem. That’s why it is important to learn how to manage your stress levels naturally, so you can live your life without worrying about heart disease!
Heart disease doesn’t have to be a death sentence for you or anyone else in your family. You can take control of this deadly disease with diet and lifestyle changes, especially exercise and weight management! The good news is there are many ways you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, keeping you healthy for many years to come.