Heart disease is a dangerous condition triggered by the development of plaque in the blood vessels and arteries. This prevents oxygen and vital nutrients from reaching the heart. Plaque is made of certain minerals, fatty molecules and cholesterol. Plaque accumulates as time passes when the artery’s inner lining is damaged by elevated levels of triglycerides, cholesterol, smoking cigarettes or high blood pressure. There are numerous risk factors for heart disease. The two that cannot be controlled are heredity and age. The risks increase in men at the age of 45 and in women at the age of 55. The risk further increases if there is a history of this disease in close family members.
The risk factors for heart disease include:
- Diabetes or insulin resistance
- High blood pressure or cholesterol
- Physical inactivity
- An unhealthy diet
- A family history of the disease
- Clinical depression
- Not getting enough exercise
- A diet high in sodium, sugar, trans fat and fat proteins
- Drinking excessively
- Improper stress management
According to the National Institute of Diabetes, middle-aged individuals with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have a stroke or a heart attack than individuals without diabetes. Diabetic adults often have heart attacks when they are much younger. If the individual has high blood glucose levels or insulin resistance, the likelihood of multiple heart attacks increases. If high blood glucose levels are not properly managed, the plaque forming on the blood vessel walls can increase. This stops or hinders the blood flow from reaching the heart.
Individuals with diabetes can decrease the risk of heart disease by carefully managing their blood sugar levels and following a diet high in fiber and low in simple carbohydrates, fat and sugar. Proper management of blood sugars can also decrease the risk for circulation problems and eye disease. It is equally important to not smoke and maintain a healthy weight. Heart disease is extremely dangerous but can often be prevented by following a heart-healthy lifestyle. This can be critical for anyone with an increased risk.
Studies have shown individuals suffering from depression develop this disease at a higher rate than the rest of the population. Depression can increase the risk for a heart attack due to the changes often caused in the body. Blood pressure can be elevated by a constant feeling of sadness and too much stress. Depression also increases the CRP or C-reactive protein level. This can lead to inflammation within the body.
If you believe you may be at risk for heart disease, please don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation at the office of Dr. James DeStephens in Gainesville, FL. Contact us today to book an appointment and learn more.