The top risk factors for heart disease

How to be heart-healthy.

February is designated American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women, but you can help prevent heart disease by knowing the risk factors, and making heart-healthy choices.

The rise of heart disease

Heart disease can happen at any age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is no longer considered an older adult’s disease — the incidence of heart disease in younger adults (35-64) is on the rise.

Top risk factors for heart disease

High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are the key heart disease risk factors, and half of all Americans have at least one of these three risk factors. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at higher risk for heart disease, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Genetics

Taking care of your heart health

You can help lower your risk of heart disease and heart attack by:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Limiting tobacco and alcohol use

If heart disease runs in your family, be sure to talk to your primary care physician about assessing your heart and vascular health. In addition, Sharp offers nutrition counseling and classes throughout the year that teach practical tips for healthy cooking to reduce risk of heart disease. They also offer free blood pressure screenings at locations throughout San Diego.