Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., causing 630,000 deaths annually. Heart attacks are such a common occurrence that one happens every 40 seconds, and coronary heart disease is the most widespread cause of death with 366,000 deaths only in 2015.

Some heart disease risk factors are hereditary and unfortunately unchangeable, which undoubtedly contributes to these numbers and statistics. However, there are plenty of risk factors that can be kept under control, provided you have a healthy lifestyle. Here are some lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of heart disease.

Give up Or Limit Smoking and Drinking

Smoking has a disastrous effect on cardiovascular health, as it damages the artery lining and causes a build-up of atheroma, which can even cause a stroke or heart attack. What’s more, cigarettes contain nicotine and carbon monoxide, which raise blood pressure while decreasing oxygen supply in the blood. The heart then has to pump blood much harder to achieve the same effect.

Alcohol isn’t as damaging for cardiovascular health as cigarettes are, but it’s still an unhealthy habit. Excessive drinking has been linked to increased risk of developing high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia, and it can cause stroke as well as sudden cardiac death.

Keep Your Weight Normal with a Balanced Diet

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 28% (when there aren’t any other metabolic risk factors present). The increased values of lipids and glucose in the blood that are present in overweight people, along with higher blood pressure caused by an accumulation of fat in the arteries, put significant strain on the cardiovascular system.

However, most fad diets do not provide a healthy way of maintaining weight in the normal range. Keep your diet balanced without cutting out essential nutrients and food groups unless you have a condition that demands it.

Be More Physically Active

According to the INTERHEART study of risk factors for myocardial infarction, physical inactivity was estimated to increase the risk by 12%. When comparing different factors to get a better idea of the severity of each, it’s important to point out that hypertension contributed with 18%, while type 2 diabetes mellitus accounted for 10% of cases. Sedentary lifestyle won’t do your cardiovascular system any good, which is why regular physical activity is a must.

Monitor Your Health

Conditions like diabetes, chronic stress, hyperlipidemia, and hypertriglyceridemia can be undiagnosed and left untreated for years. However, all of them are significant risk factors in developing severe cardiovascular diseases. Regular doctor checkups can reveal the development of these conditions, which is why health monitoring shouldn’t be neglected.

Here at Premier Heart & Vascular Center, we’ve made it our mission to care for your heart health. If you have any concerns about your cardiovascular health, our highly-skilled team of heart physicians will provide you with expert care.

Visit our website to find out more about preserving your cardiovascular health.