Heart Disease – Know Your Risks in Plano TX
Coronary artery disease (commonly know as heart disease) occurs when an artery becomes blocked, which prevents oxygen from getting to the heart. This blockage and subsequent lack of oxygen is due to plaque build up within the artery walls making it difficult for blood to flow to the heart muscle. It is the blood that carries the oxygen. If a clot forms at the area of blockage, then the heart muscle will get no oxygen and you will experience a heart attack. When a similar event occurs in the brain it is called a stroke.
According to the American Heart Association, the six major risk factors for coronary heart disease are: high blood cholesterol, smoking tobacco, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes. These risk factors represent conditions or habits that make you more prone to developing heart disease. In addition, other risk factors are important to consider like one’s family history and gender. It’s critical to be aware of these leading risk factors by monitoring them with annual checkups. One can reduce their cardiovascular risk by making lifestyle changes as needed.
What Heart related numbers should I be monitoring?
Abnormal levels of any of the following can cause wear and tear on the delicate lining of your blood vessels. Not knowing your levels is dangerous, since you don’t know if you need to make changes in order to lower your risk level for heart disease.
• Blood pressure
• Blood sugar (if you have diabetes, are pregnant or are overweight)
How do I lower my risk of Heart Disease in Plano TX?
Since many people are under the misconception that heart disease only affects those at later stages of their lives, I wanted to point out a few things that people of different age ranges should focus on to keep their heart healthy.
• All ages – eat a healthy diet, exercise and don’t smoke.
• 20’s – Healthy people need doctors too. By getting regular wellness exams you will have a documented medical history, which will assist your physician should irregularities appear at any time. It’s easier to be physically active when you are younger, so start at a younger age. Maintaining exercise for health is recommended. Don’t smoke and if you do, quit!
• 30’s – Be active, know your family history in regards to heart health and try to reduce the amount of stress in your life.
• 40’s – As we get older our bodies tend to gain weight, so be careful to be aware of your weight and make dietary and exercise adjustments as needed. Have your blood sugar levels (blood glucose) tested by age 45.
• 50’s – You are now in an age category that has a higher occurrence of heart disease, so you need to be aware of the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke. These symptoms can be different by gender, so do your homework and don’t hesitate to see your doctor if you have any concerns.
• 60+ – With increased age one’s risk of higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels increases. Your doctor will add an ankle brachial index test to your annual exam, which will help determine if you might have peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is a cardiovascular disease in which plaque builds up in your leg arteries. Diet and exercise continue to be very important to your heart health, so don’t slow down just because you are getting a little older.
To summarize the issues at hand, it is important at any age to be aware of the risk factors leading to poor heart health later in life. Heart disease is a chronic problem that develops insidiously over the years. Despite this there are things one can do to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Or, if one already has heart disease, there are steps one can take to prevent heart attacks and to reduce the progression of coronary blockages.
Failure to care for oneself can lead to heart attack. Damaged heart muscle does not function properly and might not be able to support your body for activities in which you might want to engage. Congestive heart failure is the name of the condition. It can cause shortness of breath with exertion (and in severe cases, at rest) as well as make one susceptible to life-threatening arrhythmias if the damage is extensive. In the worst-case scenario a heart attack can lead to death.