5 Behaviors That Increase Your Heart Disease Risk

According to the CDC, about 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States is the result of heart disease. This statistic is sobering, and it likely makes you wonder what you can do to reduce your risk. Although there are some heart disease factors that are out of your control, such as your age, family history, and genetics, that doesn’t mean that heart disease only strikes randomly. Instead, the following behaviors have proven to increase your risk of heart disease.

Using Tobacco

Most people understand the problems that smoking can cause in their respiratory systems, but tobacco use doesn’t just hurt your lungs. When nicotine enters the body, it raises your blood pressure. Over time, smoking also causes damage to your heart and your blood vessels, which leads to heart disease. Sadly, these damages are not limited to only smokers. Regular exposure to secondhand smoke also increases your risk of developing heart disease.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption

You don’t have to say goodbye to your favorite drinks completely, but you should be careful regarding your alcohol consumption to protect your heart. Excessive alcohol consumption puts you at risk for heart disease by increasing your triglyceride level, raising your blood pressure, and causing irregular heartbeats. The American Heart Association recommends no more than one alcoholic beverage per day for women and no more than two alcoholic beverages per day for men.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Your heart is one of the most important muscles in your body. Like any muscle, it needs to be worked out regularly to remain strong. You can lower your risk for heart disease by participating in moderate to vigorous exercise on a regular basis instead of maintaining a lifestyle that is mostly sedentary. The good news is that there is not just one type of exercise that provides this benefit. Whether you enjoy swimming, jogging, biking, or another form of physical activity, you are helping your heart while you are working out.

Poor Diet and Nutrition

You’ve probably heard the old saying that “You are what you eat.” When it comes to heart disease, your diet is one of the best tools that you have in your arsenal. Whole, nutrient-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, fuel your body without clogging your arteries. It’s fine to treat yourself to a juicy steak or a rich dessert every once in a while, but a balanced diet and limited calorie consumption helps your body and your heart function properly.

Not Maintaining a Healthy Weight

If you haven’t yet made healthy choices regarding your exercise and nutrition, you might find that the number on the scale isn’t one that you enjoy seeing. Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease. Even if you have no other risk factors for this condition, your risk is greatly increased if you have a high level of fat in your body, and especially belly fat around your waist. Fortunately, this is something that can often be controlled through a balanced diet and increased physical activity. Even losing just 3 to 5 percent of your body weight can help reduce your risk of heart disease!

Here at In-Pulse CPR, we are confident that knowledge and training are two important tools we can all use to reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, you can be ready to assist someone experiencing a cardiac episode by completing one of our high-quality training programs with American Heart Association certified instructors.


Laura Crider