Heart Health and Family History: How You Can Reduce Your Risk Factors
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, causing over 25% of American deaths in 2006. Scientists have established two main categories of factors that put people at a higher risk for developing conditions that affect the heart: modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. Modifiable risk factors are defined as habits, such as tobacco use, dietary choices, and physical activity level, that can be altered if one so chooses. Non-modifiable risk factors, including characteristics such as age and genetics, cannot be altered to decrease risk for heart disease.
So, what roles do these non-modifiable, inherited risk factors play in the development of cardiovascular disease? After carefully evaluating the human genome, scientists found that some genes specifically influence cardiovascular risk by affecting certain physiological processes. Genetic and protein markers have been found that may help physicians to identify the heightened risk for developing certain types of heart disease.
Although these genetic risk factors cannot be altered, they can help you to know and predict future cardiovascular events. People at risk for heart disease can still greatly benefit from modifying their behavior to ensure that they are physically active, eat well, and avoid tobacco use. Monitoring cardiovascular activity and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control with the help of your general practitioner or cardiologist will do wonders in lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease. Those with higher risk can also improve their futures by:
- Maintaining good dental hygiene
- Drinking alcohol only in moderation
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Managing stress
- Controlling diabetes by maintaining stable blood glucose levels
Are you at risk for heart disease? To find out more about your risk factors or to locate an experienced cardiologist in the community of Thousand Oaks, CA, contact Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center by calling (805) 497-2727.