Many adults are concerned about heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Fortunately, while some risk factors for heart disease cannot be changed, many others can be reduced or even eliminated with lifestyle changes.
Permanent Risk Factors
Risk factors that cannot be changed include:
Gender and age: Men are at higher risk for heart disease starting at age 45 and women at age 55
Race and ethnicity: African-Americans have a higher risk of heart disease than whites, who are at higher risk than Hispanic-Americans.
Family history: Those who have family members who developed heart disease are at higher risk.
You can attempt to lower your risk for heart disease by taking steps to eliminate preventable risk factors. These lifestyle changes include:
-Taking steps to control hypertension (high blood pressure), including limiting sodium in your diet and taking medication as indicated by our doctor
-Lowering cholesterol by making healthy dietary choices and increasing your level of exercise
-Losing weight if you are overweight or obese. We can calculate your body mass index (BMI), a comparison of your height and weight, to determine whether you are at a healthy weight. This is particularly important if you have a waist size of more than 35 inches if you are a woman or 40 inches if you are a man.
-Eating a diet that consists of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (five to 10 servings a day), whole grains, and low-fat dairy, with limited red meat, sugar, and fatty or processed foods
-Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week
-Quitting if you smoke or use tobacco, which damages the heart and blood vessels and allows plaque to build up in the arteries
-Managing stress through yoga, meditation, or other relaxation techniques
-Controlling your blood sugar if you have been diagnosed as diabetic or pre-diabetic
-Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night
If you are concerned about your risk of developing heart disease, talk with one of our trained professionals at the office of Dr. James B. DeStephens in Gainesville, FL. Contact us today to book an appointment.