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What Is Putting You At Risk For Heart Disease?

Your heart health matters. According to the World Health Organization, heart disease has been the leading cause of death worldwide for 20 years. In the United States alone, this accounts for an estimated 655,000 deaths a year. Risk factors for developing heart disease range from genetic history to the influence of personal lifestyle habits. At Midwest Cardiovascular Institute, we want you to know the risks to stay on top of your heart health. Learn how you can control your risk of heart disease. 

Risk Factors Of Heart Disease

For some, heart disease is hereditary. Risk factors such as family history, age and sex are out of your control. However, many risk factors can be controlled to greatly lessen your risk. These include: 

Risk Factors You Can Control 

  • Tobacco use/smoking
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity 
  • Diabetes
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Stress

The above risk factors can be modified and influenced by your lifestyle and daily choices. Let’s break down a few of these below.


Overweight or obese individuals are at a high risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This can also lead to high blood pressure and a greater risk of stroke. Weight loss and healthy nutrition are key to lowering BMI taking excess pressure off of the body and your internal organs. Exercise regularly, eat balanced meals of lean protein and vegetables, regulate your portion sizes, and drink plenty of water. Putting your health first is imperative to a healthy heart.

High Blood Pressure & Cholesterol + Diet

Your cholesterol and blood pressure levels greatly affect your cardiovascular health. Cholesterol references the levels of fatty substances in your blood. Blood pressure indicates the amount of exertion blood cells place on the walls of your arteries. If these levels are too high, this can make it much harder to pump blood through the body. For healthier levels, avoid foods with high amounts of salts and saturated fat. Make physical activity an important part of your daily routine.

Alcohol & Tobacco

Not all enjoyable things are good for you. For example, smoking and drinking alcohol can double your risk of heart attack and disease. Alcohol introduces excess calories into your system and contributes to weight gain. Smoking cigarettes and alcohol consumption also place extra stress on the body by raising blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Limit your alcoholic beverages to no more than one a day, and look for solutions to cut out smoking altogether.