Lifestyle Risk Factors

Lifestyle Risk Factors

Lifestyle Risk Factors

Daily personal behavior has a dramatic affect on chronic diseases. Chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. When looking at chronic diseases and their potential connection to the environment, it is important to consider lifestyle risk factors that could play a role in their development.

Many lifestyle factors can contribute to the development of heart conditions, specifically coronary artery disease (plaque buildup in the arteries), stroke, and heart attack. These factors include:

  • Obesity or excess weight
  • Smoking
  • Physical inactivity
  • Lack of sleep
  • Substance abuse

Depression - Research suggests that the relationship between depression and coronary artery disease is two-fold. Depression increases the risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack, and people with CAD are more likely to develop depression.

High levels of chronic stress - Studies suggest that high levels of chronic stress can increase risk for cardiovascular disease. People with high stress may cope in unhealthy ways such as using substances, stress eating, or being physically inactive. There may also be some direct links between chronic stress and cardiovascular disease.

Excess body weight - Being overweight or obese, which means having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater, can put you at increased risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and sleep apnea, which all increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Unhealthy diet - A high intake of saturated fats is linked to a greater risk of heart disease. High stress may also lead to stress eating and making unhealthy dietary choices that can affect the heart.

Smoking - Smoking can damage the walls of the arteries and increase plaque buildup.

Lack of physical activity - Regular exercise helps control cholesterol and blood pressure levels, prevent obesity, and enhance mood.

Lack of sleep - Research increasingly suggests that insomnia may contribute directly and indirectly to cardiovascular disease. Physical changes to your body may include increased blood pressure, increased or decreased appetite, and inflammation. Inadequate sleep can also lead to depression and low motivation, which can prevent you from choosing heart-healthy behaviors.

Substance abuse - Many recreational substances can abnormally speed up the heart rate or lead to infections of the blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular conditions.

If you recognize that help is needed to reduce your personal risk factors. Please seek professional services including visiting with your primary care physician, physical therapist, massage therapist, chiropractor and fitness coach. Living a healthy lifestyle, including addressing psychological issues, is an important part of managing heart health.

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