According to statistics, heart disease causes about 610 000 deaths in the US annually. In the majority of cases, heart troubles occur because of decreased blood supply. Coronary arteries are the vessels, which normally carry oxygen to cardiac muscle. If these arteries get blocked, your heart can't attain sufficient amount of oxygenated blood and loses its ability to work properly.
It was found that vessels are commonly occluded by fatty buildup, which can stick to their lining and narrow the lumen. These waxy accumulations are medically called atherosclerosis. Sometimes plaques can rupture, leading to formation of the blood clot on the damaged surface of the plaque.
As artery lumen becomes extremely narrowed, you may experience chest pain, which gets worse during physical activity, shortness of breath and elevated blood pressure. There are numerous risk factors, which can lead to heart disease development. Knowing them can help you to reduce hazards of serious health issues.
However not all risks are modifiable.
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Here are the most significant risk factors of heart disease:
#1. Race – let's start with hazards, which can't be changed by your own. It was recognized that heart disease occurs more frequently in American Indians, African and Mexican Americans.
#2. Heredity – having family history of heart problems is a risk factor for you. It's worth saying that genetic predisposition works against you, only if having another (potentially modifiable) hazards.
#3. Age – your chances of heart disease development increase with the passing years. By the way, it was found that women after menopause are more likely to suffer from heart problems. It's mainly about hormonal imbalance. Estrogen normally protects your vessels from atherosclerosis. During menopause your ovaries stop to produce this hormone. As a result, your risks of cardiovascular disorders get significantly raised.
#4. Excessive weight – about two-thirds of Americans suffer from excessive weight. Doctors say that extra centimeters on your waistline are especially dangerous, as they indicate fatty accumulations around your internal organs. The most simple and popular measure of obesity is body mass index, which can be calculated by your own with the aid of online-programs.
#5. Smoking – it's one of the most harmful habits in our modern society.Tobacco consumption (including secondhand smoking) leads to accumulation of plaques and blood clots on the artery walls.
#6. Sedentary lifestyle – lack of physical activity boosts your risks of heart disease almost twice. It is recommended to perform exercises at least 30 minutes a day to improve your heart health.
#7. Stress – stressful situations often lead to heart attack, especially in predisposed people. Emotional stress triggers constriction of your arteries, increasing your blood pressure. If artery's lumen is narrowed by plaques, tightness of the arteries can result in reduced blood supply of the cardiac muscle.
#8. Poor diet – eating foods, rich with saturated and trans fats can be a culprit of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Excessive salt consumption was also found to boost your risks of high blood pressure and heart problems. The American Heart Association recommends taking no more than 2300 mg of salt a day. Those, who have high risks of cardiovascular disease need to cut down daily sodium intake to 1500 mg.
#9. Excessive alcohol consumption – you've probably heard that one glass of red wine can enhance your heart functioning. However the benefits are available, only if drinking in moderation, meaning one glass of wine for women and two – for men.
#10. Concomitant health issues – having diabetes, hypertension or other chronic disorders can increase your hazards of heart disease, especially if being untreated.
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