Nicole Griswold, CHWC, Wellness Coordinator
Everyone knows that February is National Heart Health month. There are about a million risk factors regarding heart health in general but what are the most important? Cardiac disease is probably my biggest passion as a health professional so I know I could write an entire book on the stuff, but I’ll keep it somewhat short and sweet.
The top 10 cardiac risk factors include:
- Dyslipidemia (high cholesterol)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Nicotine use
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High stress levels
- Hypertriglyceridemia (high amounts of fat in the blood)
- Hyperglucosemia (high blood sugar)
- High waist circumference
- Older age (men >50 years old, women >40 years old)
Unless you’re swimming on the bad side of the gene pool, 9/10 of these risk factors can be 100% controlled by you and your lifestyle. Unfortunately not everyone cares enough about the repercussions of letting these factors run wild. Let’s break it down!
Most people are not getting enough exercise and can be classified as leading a sedentary lifestyle
Generally speaking, most people who are mostly sedentary are overweight and have an increased chance of having poor numbers
Many of us carry our excess weight around our waist
A high waist circumference is directly related to abnormal glucose levels (type 2 diabetes)
People diagnosed with diabetes are 60% more likely to have a heart attack or stoke than non-diabetics
Heart attacks and strokes have a close relationship with high cholesterol and triglycerides
High total cholesterol is a result of excessive consumption of unhealthy animal products and fatty foods (triglycerides)
Any excess lipids floating through the blood will cause high blood pressure as a result of your body trying to clean the blood
Blood pressure is easily raise by increased stress levels and nicotine use
It all ties together! Keep your heart happy.