Have a Family History of Heart Disease? No Problem.
Having a family history of heart disease is a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. Oftentimes, people who have parents who have suffered a myocardial infarction or grandparents who have experienced the same may feel as though they are doomed to accept the same fate as their family members. Well, this is simply not true and I will explain why this is so in the proceeding article.
There are many different risk factors for developing heart disease that you should be cognizant of as you move forward with trying to improve your cholesterol levels, as well as the overall status quo of your heart. Some of these risk factors are smoking history, age, a sedentary lifestyle, blood pressure, etc.
Though there are some things that you can control, such as your activity levels, whether or not you smoke, your diet, etc., there are definitely some things that cannot be altered, such as your age or your family history. Be that as it may, this should not discourage you or make you feel as though you cannot better your health, due to being dealt a certain hand in life.
Too many times people blame their “bad” genetics on why they cannot lose weight or why they cannot improve their health. Yes, having a family history of heart disease will increase your risk for developing cardiovascular disease. So what? All you can do is accept reality and do whatever it is that you can to try and reduce that risk. The fact that you have a family history of heart disease does not give you a free pass to eat gluttonously and live sedentarily.
Regardless of your family history or your genetics, you can still have a very healthy heart and can significantly reduce your overall risk for developing cardiovascular disease. You can do this by exercising more consistently, eating healthier, getting your blood pressure/cholesterol tested several times a year, and more.
There is no reason for you to simply raise your shoulders and say “Well, there’s nothing I can do. I just have bad genetics.” If you tell yourself this, then you are lying to yourself and robbing yourself of what could be a very healthy body. Below, I will break down some ways that can help you to lower your risk for developing heart disease, regardless of your family history.
Talk to your doctor
It is very important that you talk to your doctor as soon as you can to share your concerns with them. Doing so may make all of the difference in the world. Among one of those differences is the fact that talking to your doctor and even getting blood work or other tests done may bring light to other issues that may be plaguing you without your awareness. Finding out where you are at health wise is essential as it gives you a foundation that you can build upon.
If you haven’t already done so, you should get your cholesterol tested. This is very important because having high cholesterol levels is a risk factor that can heighten your risk for developing heart disease. Getting your cholesterol tested is quick and easy. All it takes is a small sample of blood for you to find out your entire lipid profile.
You should also get your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure is also a risk factor that can increase your risk for developing heart disease. Getting your blood pressure is much simpler and easier than getting your cholesterol tested. To get your blood pressure taken, you can simply go to your local pharmacy as many of these businesses have blood pressure stations that you can use for free. Doing so will provide you with your blood pressure within moments after the cuff tightens with air.
Take a walk
If you are sedentary, then even taking a short 10 minute walk once a day can do a world of difference for your heart health. And as you build up your endurance by performing this short walk consistently everyday, you will then be able to increase the duration of your walks. If you are more athletically inclined, then you can go for a jog or go on a hike. The goal here is to try to get your heart rate up by doing cardiovascular exercise. This type of exercise is extremely effective at helping you to improve heart health.
Some other types of cardiovascular exercise that you can do that will positively affect your heart is swimming, biking, skiing, even doing yard work can be considered cardiovascular exercise (depending on the intensity). You should still exercise with weights when you can as you don’t want your muscle tissue to atrophy. You also want your bones to stay strong and durable as well, especially as you age. Taking these measures will definitely help you to reduced your risk for developing cardiovascular disease, regardless of your family history.
Clean up your diet
It should come to no surprise that to greatly reduce your risk for developing cardiovascular disease you’ll need to significantly clean up your diet. This means cutting out or limiting foods that are very high in saturated and trans fats. These types of fats are associated with heart disease when consumed in large amounts over a consistent period of time. To try and limit foods that are high in these fats you should try to limit eating out at fast food places. Yes, you can always get something healthier there, but why would you want to tempt yourself?
Besides limiting foods that are very high in saturated and trans fats, you also need to eat more foods that are very high in unsaturated fats. Foods that contain high amounts of unsaturated fats are very healthy for your heart and can help you to improve your HDL and LDL cholesterol levels insurmountably. Foods that contain these types of fats are salmon, herring, trout, peanut butter, avocado, and olive oil, among many others. Simply trying to eat healthier foods such as the ones in the foregoing list will help you to greatly reduce your risk for developing heart disease.