Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. According to the CDC, someone dies from heart disease every 36 seconds. While heart attacks and heart failure are the most talked-about cardiovascular issues, heart disease refers to a large group of conditions that affect the heart.

Even though it is a leading cause of death, it is possible to prevent serious issues related to heart disease and even prevent it from developing.

Know your risk factors

Heart disease can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender and race. This means that every person should know and understand what can put them at a higher risk of developing heart issues. While some factors cannot be changed, there are several ways you can protect yourself from developing heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), there are three categories of risk factors:

  • Major risk factors are factors that cannot be changed or controlled. These factors include being over 65 years old, being a man and having a family history of heart issues or disease.
  • Modifiable risk factors can be changed, treated or controlled with the help of lifestyle changes or medical treatment. These include tobacco use, being obese, having diabetes or having high blood pressure.
  • Contributing risk factors may contribute to the development of heart disease. These factors include high stress levels, poor diet and excessive alcohol use.

Reduce your risk

Even if you have major risk factors of heart disease, you can make positive lifestyle changes to help prevent the disease from developing or becoming severe. These lifestyle changes begin with small steps that can turn into long-term, everyday habits. These lifestyle changes include:

  • Staying active
  • Choosing healthy meals rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Quitting smoking or never starting to smoke
  • Lowering stress levels
  • Seeking help for mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.

Lifestyle changes can help lower your risk of developing heart disease by nearly 50%. If you are struggling with making changes, HealthLinc can help! Your medical provider can help you determine which changes could be needed to lower your risk of heart disease. Whether you need to lower your blood pressure or find ways to decrease your stress levels, we have options for you. Ask your provider about meeting with a behavioral health consultant for help planning and creating healthy habits and lifestyle changes!