What Are Cardiac Risk Factors?

187934766-heart-attack_737_450_50_c1There are many risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Some of these risk factors cannot be changed. These risk factors include family history, older age, gender, and ethnicity. Males are at a higher risk than females. Those people who are American Indian, Mexican American or African American have a greater risk of cardiac disease then Caucasians.

There are risk factors over which we do have some control. Those risk factors which may be subject to change or treatment include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, inactivity, exposure to tobacco, overweight or obesity, overuse of alcoholic products and eating an unhealthy diet.

In irdeer to help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease there are some adjustments you can make to your lifestyle which may be helpful.

If you are a smoker or you chew tobacco you need to stop. You should avoid coming into contact with second hand smoke too. Eliminating tobacco can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease significantly. Even if you have been a tobacco user for many years eliminating tobacco will still reduce this risk factor.

If you suffer from high blood pressure see your medical professional and follow the treatment program outlined for you and be sure to take any medications prescribed for you.

When you have high levels of cholesterol, especially when your bad cholesterol level (LDL level) is high, you need to follow a healthy diet as outlined by your medical professional. You may need to take medication designed to help lower cholesterol levels. You will likely need to increase activity.

When you are a couch potato you greatly increase your risk of developing heart disease. Get off that couch and engage in some physical activity most days of the week. Find something you can enjoy so you will be more likely to stick with it. You might try walking, running, hiking, swimming, dancing, gardening, weight training, yoga, zumba, whatever you like to do as long as you engage in some physical activity. It helps if you vary your routine and engage in both strength training and aerobic activities.

shutterstock_96088505-1280x960A healthy diet is extremely important when you want to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Keep you diet lower in salt, refined sugars and saturated fats. Try to limit or avoid altogether processed foods. Instead, concentrate on eating lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and some good fats.

Limit your consumption of alcohol. Too much alcohol can affect blood pressure and may contribute to other health problems.

If you are overweight or obese now is the time to do something to correct this problem. Being obese is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and this disease increases your risk for heart problems.

Some stress is a part of the life of most people. Too much stress is unhealthy and a risk factor for heart problems. You need to find a method to help you handle stressful situations. Some people have found that relaxing and meditating or engaging in yoga will help handle their stress. Being more active, eating healthy, eliminating tobacco and reducing alcohol consumption will all help your body handle stress better.

You should be aware of some of the warning signs of a heart attack, Chest pains which last more than a few minutes or leave and then come back may be a sign of a heart attack. Especially if the pain is in the center of the chest and feels like pressure or squeezing.   Shortness of breath either by itself or with chest pain is a heart attack sign. Other signs of a heart attack may be lightheadedness, nausea and/or breaking out in a cold sweat.

If you suspect you are having a heart attach seek medical help immediately.