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What are the risk factors for heart disease?

Category: General Wellness

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, is a very common condition among Americans. It can lead to potentially deadly complications, so being aware of the risk factors for this condition is important for many.

Cholesterol levels
Blood cholesterol levels are one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. Cholesterol, a waxy substance that builds up in the blood, can constrict blood passageways. This makes the heart work harder than it is supposed to, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Cholesterol tests can show the levels of low-density lipoprotein, also known as "bad cholesterol." A lab test online can show the levels of LDL cholesterol so that proper steps can be taken to reduce the risk for heart disease, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Diet and exercise can help control cholesterol levels in many people. Oftentimes, prescription medicines are also used to help lower LDL levels in some people. Lowering cholesterol is important for heart health and overall well-being. Consistent testing is important to make sure that cholesterol levels are reduced or stay the same.

High blood pressure
High blood pressure can cause cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, stroke and heart failure. Blood pressure tends to rise with age, so keeping track of blood pressure levels is important. About 1 in 3 Americans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, which is the measure of the force of blood pumping through the veins. When this force is too strong, it can damage veins and other parts of the body.

Like cholesterol levels, a healthy lifestyle can help keep blood pressure at a suitable level. Regulating stress can also help decrease blood pressure, making for a higher level of health.

Those diagnosed with diabetes through a lab test are more likely to have heart disease. Diabetes types 1 and 2 are both known to increase the risk of heart issues. This is because diabetes causes higher levels of sugar in the blood than normal, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Managing insulin levels is very important for people diagnosed with diabetes looking to avoid heart disease.

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