Being overweight or obese increases your risk for cardiovascular disease. That’s especially true if you have another risk factor, such as high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, lack of physical activity or if you smoke.
When diabetes is not controlled, glucose and fats remain in the blood. Over time, this can cause greater deposits of plaque in the arteries, which, in turn, leads to blockages in the blood vessels and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Regular, moderate-intensity aerobic activity can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Physical activity lowers blood pressure and improves cholesterol levels. If you have heart disease, physical activity may be an important part of your recovery and maintenance.
Smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Any amount of smoking damages the heart and blood vessels. The chemicals in tobacco smoke harm your blood cells, the structure and function of your blood vessels and the function of your heart.
Too much or unmanaged stress can harm your health. Chronic stress is especially harmful, and its effects are long-lasting. People with a high degree of unmanaged stress are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as people with low levels of stress.
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure, a common condition occurring in one in three Americans. If blood pressure remains high over time, it can cause serious health problems.
Hyperlipidemia occurs when there are too many lipids—or fats— in the blood. For most people, hyperlipidemia means high cholesterol and/or high triglycerides.
Nutrition can play a significant role in helping to prevent heart disease. If you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, eating a heart-healthy diet can help lower your LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose and triglycerides.