Risk Factors for Heart Disease
There are several health conditions that are considered risk factors for contracting heart disease, but by monitoring these conditions you can reduce your chances of a serious cardiac event. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but the role you play in your health can keep you from becoming part of this statistic.
Having high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. Your body needs some cholesterol, especially the "good" cholesterol (HDL) found in foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids like fish, avocados, and nuts. The presence of lowdensity lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, is what you want to avoid. Keep the number low by staying away from the saturated fat you find in meat and dairy products.
High blood pressure is another risk factor for heart disease, so get your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure may have no symptoms; for this reason it's referred to as a "silent killer." To check if your blood pressure is normal or if you may be at risk, refer to the CDC's Blood Pressure Levels chart. A healthy diet and regular exercise are the initial prescriptions for high blood pressure, though medications can also help.