Know Your Risks for Heart Disease

Risk factors are habits and conditions that can make a person develop a chronic health condition or disease.  Habits such as smoking and having a poor diet can increase your risks for cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease, also known as heart disease, generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to severe chest pain, heart attack, or stroke.

As heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, it’s important to understand your risks for heart disease.  Some important risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being physically inactive
  • Smoking
  • Age (over 55)

Some risk factors are uncontrollable and genetically predisposed such as a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.  Other risk factors of heart disease can develop due to poor lifestyle habits such as smoking or an inactive lifestyle, with symptoms showing with age.

Some signs and symptoms of heart disease to look out for include:

  • Severe chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Racing or slow heartbeat
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, and upper back or abdomen

Even with risk factors or noticeable symptoms in mind, there are many ways you can reduce your risks for heart disease.  Take charge of your health by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Staying physically active
  • Reducing your salt and sugar intake
  • Quitting your smoking habits
  • Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep
  • Monitoring your numbers

The best way to know if you are at risk for heart disease is to get regularly screened for high blood pressure.  At AFC Urgent Care, we conduct blood pressure screenings with every visit to our urgent care center.  If your readings illustrate risks for hypertension or high blood pressure, we will refer you to your primary care physician, or a specialist for further evaluation.

For more information about the services we provide, please call us at 908-222-3500.