Who Is At Risk for Heart Disease?

heart diseaseHeart disease remains a prevalent and serious health concern that affects millions worldwide. Understanding the risk factors, recognizing the signs and seeking guidance from a cardiologist can play a significant role in preventing and treating this disease. Below, the heart doctors at AMS Cardiology explain who’s at risk and the signs of a cardiovascular problem and highlight why it’s necessary to seek help from a cardiologist for optimal heart health. 

Identifying Those at Risk for Heart Disease

Heart disease describes a range of disorders that affect the cardiovascular system and the heart. Your risk depends on several factors, some of which you can control and some of which are out of your control. These risk factors include:

  • Age and gender – As you age, your risk for developing heart disease rises. Men are at a higher risk at a younger age than women. Post-menopausal women are also at an increased risk. 
  • Family history – If a close family member has had heart disease, it can raise your risk. 
  • High blood pressure – Hypertension is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Routine blood pressure checks are essential to maintaining a healthy heart as high blood pressure often has no symptoms. 
  • High cholesterol levels – Elevated levels of bad cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease.
  • Smoking – Smoking is the most preventable cause of heart disease. It damages blood vessels, decreases oxygen to the heart and raises the risk of heart disease. 
  • Obesity and poor diet – Being overweight coupled with other risk factors can lead to heart problems.
  • Physical inactivity – A sedentary lifestyle contributes to weight gain, high blood pressure and overall poor health.
  • Diabetes – People with diabetes are at an increased risk due to the potential damage high blood sugar can cause to blood vessels and nerves. 
  • Stress and mental health – Chronic stress, anxiety, depression and poor mental health can all affect heart health over time. 

Signs of Heart Issues

Recognizing the signs of heart issues is crucial for early detection and effective management of cardiovascular conditions. Heart issues can encompass a wide range of problems, from coronary artery disease to heart failure, arrhythmias and more. While some symptoms may be subtle and easily overlooked, others can be apparent. It’s important to note that these signs may vary from person to person and not everyone will experience all of them. Here are some common symptoms of heart issues:

  • Chest pain, tightness, pressure and discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue 
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat 
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen area or back
  • Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in the legs or arms if the blood vessels in those body areas are narrowed
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, feet or abdomen 

Preventing Heart Disease

If you’re wondering how to prevent heart disease, there are several things you can do to help keep your heart healthy. Here are some of the most effective ways to lower your risk:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Manage stress levels
  • Control blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Manage diabetes
  • Schedule regular health check-ups with your doctor

Contact the Heart Doctors at AMS Cardiology Today

At AMS Cardiology we have a team of physicians ready to help diagnose, treat and prevent heart disease. Consulting with us can help you better understand your heart health, find ways to improve your lifestyle and manage your symptoms. Our cardiologists are here to provide personalized care based on your risk factors, symptoms and overall health. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, contact us today.

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