The Hard Facts About Heart Health: Are You at Risk?
The strongest and toughest muscle in the human body, a healthy heart beats about 72 times every minute and weighs between 9 and 12 ounces. With each beat, it simultaneously pumps blood into the lungs to pick up oxygen and out of the lungs to supply the tissues in the body. Having a constant supply of blood keeps your heart working properly.
While there are many risk factors you can do something about, there are some you can’t control such as your:
- age — your risk of heart disease increases as you get older
- gender — men over the age of 55 and postmenopausal women are at a greater risk of heart disease
- family history — your heart disease risks increase if a close family member developed heart disease before age 55 (or before menopause)
- ethnicity — First Nations people and those of African or South Asian descent are at a greater risk for heart disease because they are more likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes
Your best defense against heart disease is to control the risk factors that could lead to coronary artery disease such as:
- high blood pressure/hypertension
- high blood cholesterol
- excess weight
- excessive alcohol consumption
- physical inactivity
- stress level
The Heart & Stroke Foundation website offers helpful tips to lower your risk for heart disease. To find out if you’re at risk, take their heart and stroke online risk assessment and learn how you can take action to live a longer and fuller life.