While it is possible for anyone to suffer from heart problems, certain groups of patients have a much higher risk than others. Certain habits and diets can impact your risk, so it’s vital to know if you fall into a group that is at higher risk for heart complications so that you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
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Groups of Patients Who Are at the Highest Risk for Heart Problems
People who smoke have a much, much higher risk of heart problems than those who don’t smoke. Even if you use e-cigarettes, you’re at a much higher risk of heart complications than those who avoid nicotine in any shape or form.
While the smoke from cigarettes can cause lung problems, it’s the nicotine in cigarettes that puts you at risk of heart problems. Nicotine stimulates adrenaline which encourages your heart to pump faster. In turn, this raises your blood pressure and forces your heart to work harder more often. You’re also at a higher risk of blood clots which can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
Those with High Cholesterol
Most people have probably heard that high cholesterol levels increase your risk of heart problems. As a fatty substance found in your blood, you don’t want your cholesterol levels to get too high or out of control.
The biggest concern is LDL (low-density lipoprotein), also known as bad cholesterol. As LDL builds up, it blocks arteries, making it more difficult for your heart to pump blood. This increases your risk for strokes and heart disease. Eating healthier and exercising regularly is the best way to avoid high cholesterol or lower it.
Even if you are otherwise healthy and present no other risk factors, being obese does increase your risk of heart problems. Those who are obese are more likely to have high cholesterol or high blood pressure or develop diabetes.
To reduce your risk of heart problems, it’s recommended that you increase your activity level, eat healthily, and try to lose 3 to 5 percent of your body weight at a steady, safe pace. Losing a lot of weight in a short amount of time could put you at risk for other health concerns, so be sure that any weight loss program you follow is safe and approved by your doctor.
Those with High Blood Pressure
When your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder to pump blood which can cause your heart muscles to get stiffer. A stiff heart won’t function as it’s supposed to and puts you at a high risk of stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and even kidney failure.
Oftentimes, high blood pressure accompanies other health problems such as high cholesterol, diabetes, or is present in smokers. When it appears alongside any of these additional health concerns, it worsens your risk of heart problems.
More and more people are being diagnosed with diabetes. Unfortunately, once you develop diabetes, it’s with you for the rest of your life. You may be able to treat it and help keep your blood sugar levels steady, but you will never be able to get rid of it. As such, it’s crucial that diabetics pay careful attention to their health as they are at a higher risk of heart problems.
Controlling your blood sugar levels and preventing them from rising or dropping too much can help your risk of stroke or heart disease. Even so, diabetics have an increased risk and should pay attention to their diet and be sure to exercise regularly.
It’s possible for anyone to develop heart problems, but some patients are at a higher risk due to other medical concerns or lifestyle choices. While nothing is guaranteed, there are certain habits and life changes you can make that will help reduce your risk. Getting plenty of exercise, eating healthy, and talking with your doctor can all help reduce your risk.