You know that heart disease runs in your family, and you’re understandably concerned. The fact is that genetics can play a role — for example, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease among those who have a family history of premature heart disease is two times greater than those who have no family history.
A family history of heart disease can be looked at in two ways. On the one hand, yes, your risks may be elevated. Looking at it from another angle, you’re benefiting from an early warning flag, which allows you to take steps that will improve your heart health.
If you have a family history of heart disease, the team of experienced heart health experts here at Advanced Cardiology Specialists recommends that you take the following steps.
Have the right team in your corner
One of the most important steps you can take when you have a family history of heart disease is to seek specialized cardiology care as early as possible. Through regular visits with our team, we can track your cardiovascular health and step in early if we see a warning flag or concerning trend.
This early intervention is critical when it comes to heart disease, especially if you consider that 90% of heart disease is preventable.
The CDC lists three major risk factors when it comes to heart disease, and tobacco use is one. When you smoke, you increase the amount of plaque in your blood vessels, which can lead to dangerous blockages.
Although there are almost innumerable reasons why you should quit smoking, we’re going to put heart disease prevention at the top of the list.
Address high blood pressure
If you have a family history of heart disease, it’s more important than ever to play close attention to your blood pressure numbers, which is the second risk factor on the CDC list. If, like nearly half of US adults, you have hypertension, you should take steps to get these numbers under control.
Exercise can go a long way toward reducing hypertension, as does reducing sodium in your diet. As well, you should limit your alcohol intake as alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
If you're unable to reduce your blood pressure through diet and exercise, we can prescribe medications.
Watch your cholesterol
The third risk factor on the CDC’s list of major risk factors for heart disease is an imbalance in your cholesterol numbers. Here again, if you have cholesterol problems, as well as a family history of heart disease, there’s only one risk that you can address — your cholesterol.
The best way to address poor cholesterol numbers is through diet and exercise. Avoiding saturated fats and sugars in favor of vegetables, fruits, and lean meats is a great nutritional start. If you combine this with daily exercise, you can lower your bad cholesterol numbers and increase your good cholesterol, creating a healthy balance in your cholesterol levels.
We can also prescribe medications that can help better balance your cholesterol levels, as well as help you come up with a diet and exercise plan that works best for you.
A family history of heart disease is by no means a forgone conclusion, especially if you address the other major risks for heart disease and improve your cardiovascular health.
To learn more about safeguarding your heart health when you have a family history of heart disease, please contact our office in Mountain View, California.