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Combatting Risk Factors of Cardiovascular Disease

February 9, 2022
Categories: Health | Fitness | Our Community

Adapted from an article written by Macey Augst
VMRC Wellness Center Fitness Assistant


February is World Heart Month. According to goredforwomen.com, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. Read on to learn about the risk factors of heart disease and what can be done to overcome them. 

The heart is one of our centerpieces for living a long, healthy life. It’s about the size of our fist, has four chambers, and delivers blood from our toes to our brain. The heart is a delicate and intricate organ that all of our other organs thrive upon. For instance, our skin and muscles require blood delivery from the heart and when that process is compromised, it can negatively affect these regions. We can protect our hearts by educating ourselves on the risk factors that might harm our health.

Risk Factors of Heart Disease/Hypertension

• Genetics/Family History

• Age

• Gender

• Obesity

• Physical Inactivity

• Eating Habits

• Smoking or overconsumption of alcohol

A few of these risk factors are based on genetics and age and are out of our control. Although we cannot decide or alter our genes or stop ourselves from growing older, we can implement healthy lifestyle choices to combat genes that may not be in our favor and keep us as young as we feel. 

Almost all other risk factors are under our control. Obesity and eating habits are almost hand in hand. Choosing the healthier options most of the time will help us maintain a healthy weight, which puts less stress on the heart. Staying active or becoming active will aid in losing weight, build muscle, and keep our heart strong. Eliminating smoking and alcohol (or moderate consumption) will benefit not only our heart but other vital organs too. 

Let’s now dig deeper into the ways to combat these risk factors.

Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes

• Healthy Diet: A healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low saturated fats and minimal added sugars

• Physical Activity: At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week with at least two strengthening activities per week. 

• No smoking or alcohol consumption

• Monitor blood pressure

• Drink water: Recommendations may vary. Men (15.5 cups) Women (11.5 cups)

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