The Truth About Lifestyle and Heart Disease
The truth is, drugs won’t cure heart disease, though it can certainly help control it. That means your lifestyle does matter — a lot.
For starters, it’s likely that some aspects of your lifestyle may have put you at risk for heart disease. These are called risk factors. Here’s a list of common risk factors for heart disease:
– Smoking tobacco
– Having high blood pressure
– Being overweight
– Having unhealthy blood fat and cholesterol levels
– Having diabetes
– Being physically inactive
– Being over 55 years old for men and over 65 years old for women
– Having family members who had heart disease or a heart attack early in life: under 55 for your father or brother; under 65 for your mother or sister
Smoking and Your Heart
Let’s get right to the bad news you probably already know: Smoking hurts your heart and blood vessels — not to mention your lungs. Here’s how:
– Nicotine from cigarettes tightens your blood vessels, which causes your blood pressure to rise and makes your heart work harder.
– Smoking lowers the amount of oxygen and increases the amount of poisonous carbon monoxide in your blood. Your heart ends up needing more oxygen but has less ability to get it. This increases the chances of having a heart attack.