How Can You Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease?

by Frederick Akinola
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Patient in the hospital- heart check up

The heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body. To stay healthy, the heart needs oxygen and other nutrients that are carried by the blood. It gets these by way of the coronary arteries, which wrap around the outside of the heart. Diseases can affect any part of the heart. However, the most common is the insidious disease of the coronary arteries. Every year, millions of people worldwide have heart attacks. Many survive with few aftereffects. Others do not survive. It is important to note some factors that can cause heart disease and how we can keep the heart healthy.

Age, Gender, and Heredity

With increased age comes an increased risk of a heart attack. About 55% of heart attacks occur in people over 65. Some 80% of those who die of heart attacks are 65 or older. Men under 50 are more at risk than women of the same age group. After menopause, a woman’s risk increases because of the sharp decrease in the protective hormone estrogen. Inheritance can play a key role. When there is a history of heart trouble in the family, the offspring are more likely to develop similar problems.

The Cholesterol Factor

A diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats is recommended. Replacing foods high in saturated fats, such as butter, with foods that are lower. Cutting down on high-fat meats and substituting low-fat cuts of chicken or turkey is also recommended.

Get Physically Active

Sedentary people have a higher risk of a heart attack. They spend most of the day physically inactive and do not exercise regularly. Heart attacks often occur in these people after strenuous activities. But the risk decreases among those who exercise regularly. Regular exercise improves the heart’s ability to pump, helps weight loss, and may decrease cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.

Hypertension, Excess Weight, and Diabetes

Medication to lower blood pressure may be effective. Dieting, and in some cases restricting salt intake, together with regular exercise for weight reduction can help control high blood pressure. Excess weight promotes high blood pressure and lipid abnormalities. Avoiding or treating obesity is a primary way to prevent diabetes. Diabetes accelerates coronary artery disease and increases the risk of a heart attack.


Cigarette smoking is a strong factor in the development of coronary artery disease. Cigarette smoking increases blood pressure and introduces toxic chemicals, such as nicotine and carbon monoxide, into the bloodstream. These chemicals, in turn, damage the arteries. Smokers also put those who are exposed to their smoke at risk. Studies reveal that nonsmokers living with smokers have an increased risk of a heart attack. Thus, by quitting smoking, a person can reduce his own risk and may even save the lives of nonsmoking loved ones.


When under severe emotional or mental stress, those who have CAD face a much higher risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death than people who have healthy arteries.

While there are other factors related to heart problems, the ones discussed here can help identify risks so that a person can take appropriate action. Please do note that a person with medical problems should consult a doctor for proper medical advice. Naijapr does not endorse medical, exercise, or dietary treatments but presents well-researched information. 

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