“Heart disease.” Likely one of the more frightening diagnoses to hear from a doctor, the term heart disease actually refers to any number of heart conditions, the most common of which is Coronary Artery Disease. With varying severity, complexity, cause, and treatment, some of these conditions can lead to heart attack, heart failure, and even death. The good news? It’s never too late to start healthy preventative habits.

Who is at risk?

The risk factors for heart disease fall under three categories:

  • Existing conditions: High blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetes all increase risk for heart disease.
  • Lifestyle: Tobacco use, diet, physical inactivity, obesity, and alcohol consumption can all increase the risk for heart disease.
  • Genetics: Heart disease can run in the family. If a parent, grandparent, or sibling suffers from heart disease, you are also at risk.

Heart disease: What you can do

Concerned you might be at risk? Healthy changes at any age can help decrease your risk. Get started with these six changes:

  • Eat a healthy diet, low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sugars
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit alcohol use
  • Regulate your sleeping schedule

If you are concerned about your risk for heart disease or have experienced symptoms of a heart attack, contact a physician immediately.