Love those salty snacks and skipping your evening walk? You could be placing yourself at risk for heart damage.
It’s heart month in America. A lot of people across the country are in great shape, but it’s a fact that half of all Americans actually have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease. And they’re appearing in people at younger and younger ages.
On average, the hearts of Americans are 7 years older than they should be. Change is possible. By identifying your risk, you can make lifestyle changes that ensure you live longer and experience a higher quality of life.
What are the risk factors? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following 7 conditions will raise your risk of developing heart disease at any age:
1) Having High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure isn’t something that’s reserved for those in their golden years. According to statistics, millions of Americans, including any in their 40s and 50s, currently suffer from high blood pressure. The scariest thing is that about half of the people in this group don’t have their high blood pressure under control. This is one of the largest contributors to developing heart disease and having a stroke.
2) Having High Blood Cholesterol
Some people seem to naturally have higher levels of cholesterol than others. Having consistently high cholesterol that’s out of the normal range is a marker for future heart disease.
It’s well known that smoking doesn’t really bring you any benefits. More than 37 million adult Americans still do it. Not only does this mean they’re flirting with cancer, but also heart problems.
4) Being Obese
Are you carrying around a lot of extra weight? Now is the best time to try and take it off. Your heart will be much happier. More than 1 in 3 Americans, including 1 in 6 children aged 2 to 19, suffers from obesity.
5) Being Diabetic
Suffering from diabetes increases your chances of developing heart disease. The sugar build-up in you blood vessels and nerves causes damage to the muscles in your heart, with negative outcomes.
6) Being Physically Inactive
Experts recommend that you get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Only 1 in 5 American adults is currently meeting these guidelines, which is putting a strain on hearts across the nation.
How much exercise does it add up to each day? 20 minutes. Grab your dog and run around the park, and you’ve got things covered.
7) Eating Too Much Sodium
Many of us eat too much salt. This puts a strain on your system, and doesn’t do your heart any favors. What’s answer? Reach for fruit as a snack, to replace many of those processed foods.