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What Causes Heart Disease?

There are many causes and risk factors of heart disease.

By lenetstan at Shutterstock

Heart disease, often referred to as coronary heart disease (CHD), is the leading cause of death among adults and the elderly in the United States. As such, it is crucial to better understand the causes and risk factors for heart disease. If you wish to avoid heart trouble, then taking good care of yourself and your heart can make all the difference. Eating a proper diet, exercising, and visiting a heart doctor regularly can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Causes of Heart Disease

Heart disease is caused by plaque developing in the arteries and blood vessels of your heart. Plaque is made of cholesterol, fatty molecules, and minerals that accumulate over time. As the plaque accumulates in the inner lining of the heart’s arteries, the damage can be quite severe. The artery is damaged by high blood pressure, cigarette smoke, and elevated cholesterol.

Risk Factors of Heart Disease

There are many risk factors associated with heart disease. Some are out of your control, including age and heredity. As you age, your risk of heart disease increases exponentially. As for heredity, you cannot control your race or parents. If your parents have suffered from heart disease, then you are more likely to experience heart disease in your lifetime.

Your risk of heart disease increases greatly as you age. For women over 55, the risk is higher. The same goes for men over 45.

Other common risk factors of heart disease include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol or blood pressure
  • Family history
  • Physical activity
  • Tobacco usage
  • Diet
  • Depression

Lifestyle Choices

One of the leading causes of heart disease is your lifestyle choices. Genetic factors certainly play a role, however, unhealthy lifestyle choices are the biggest factor.

There are many unhealthy lifestyle choices that lead to heart disease, such as:

  • Living a sedentary life without enough exercise (many office workers suffer from this situation).
  • Eating an unhealthy diet loaded with fat proteins, trans fats, sugar, and sodium.
  • Excessive drinking.
  • Smoking.
  • A high-stress environment without management techniques.
  • Mismanagement of diabetes.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

If you do suffer from heart disease, there are symptoms you can watch for in order to take the necessary precautions and steps toward better health. For instance, the most common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain, tightness, pressure, or discomfort.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Pain, numbness, weakness, or a cold feeling in the legs and arms.
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, and back.

If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately speak with your doctor. You may not be diagnosed properly with cardiovascular disease until you experience a heart attack. However, if you know the symptoms and what to watch for, your chances of a proper, early diagnosis increase greatly.

If you experience any of the common heart disease symptoms or would like to be examined by a heart specialist, immediately call Brookhaven Heart at 631-654-3278. Our healthcare experts are available to provide relief in the event of heart disease, heart attack, or other heart-related trouble. Schedule an appointment at one of our cardiac centers in locations in Patchogue, New Hyde Park, and Hicksville, New York.