According to the Cleveland Clinic, one of the leading health organizations in the U.S., there is absolutely no heart disease gene:
“Genes are important, but what we do to protect ourselves plays a huge role in preventing heart disease,” says Robert Greenfield, MD, co-founder of California Heart Associates in Orange County, Calif., and medical director of noninvasive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley. “Your genes are the hand you were dealt, but how you play your cards can determine whether you’re going to be a winner or a loser,” Dr. Greenfield says.
Holiday Heart Attacks
As the family gathers for the holiday season, there are many who believe that heart disease gene hidden within the genes of that family will emerge. In fact, this is completely untrue. What is true is a heart attack phenomena known as a ‘holiday heart attack’ brought on by stress and those unhealthy habits that take over during the holidays.
Just because you might have a family history of heart disease, this does not doom you for a lifetime of heart disease as well. You can control your fate, at least according to the top heart experts in the world.
The actual conditions that lead to heart attack and other cardiovascular events depends on your lifestyle…
Know Your Actual Risk Factors
While there is no heart disease gene, there are risk factors that can increase the odds you’ll end up with a holiday heart attack. According to EveryDayHealth.com, those include:
- High blood pressure. Normal resting blood pressure for most adults is below 120/80, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). High blood pressure can increase your risk for heart disease, heart attack, andstroke. It can cause the muscles lining your artery walls to thicken, in turn narrowing the path of your blood flow. Blockages to the heart can lead to heart attacks, and blockages to the brain can lead to strokes.
- High cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance carried through the blood. Too much LDL cholesterol — the bad kind — can cause plaque to build up in your arteries, increasing your risk for a heart attack.
- Diabetes. At least 65 percent of people with diabetes die from some form of heart disease or stroke, according to the AHA. Many people with type 2 diabetes in particular are obese and have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poorly controlled blood sugar — all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
- Smoking. The chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
- Being overweight. Carrying excess weight, especially around the middle, strains your heart, raises your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, and lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol. This increases your risk for heart disease as well as diabetes.
If you fall into one of the above risk categories, take action now! Don’t wait until the New Year to change your habits, start today before it might be too late. There is a reason for the name ‘holiday heart attacks,’ and you don’t want to find out that reason. Change your life now and get healthy not only as a Christmas gift to yourself, but a Christmas gift to your entire family. They don’t want the holiday heart attack to sneak up on you this holiday season either.
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