February is the American Heart Association’s Heart Awareness Month. The aim is to create awareness of the risks of having heart disease and to empower you to reduce your or your loved one’s risk of heart disease. There are numerous risk factors for heart disease, some of which cannot be changed – such as age or gender – but there are some factors that can be changed or managed in order to decrease your chances of having heart disease. A key risk factor that can be worked on and improved is weight.
What is the link between weight and heart disease? The short answer is that obesity and heart disease have a complex link – obesity itself can increase the risk of developing some of the other risk factors for heart disease, but it also causes your heart to work harder, leading to stress on the heart. Obesity is known for increasing the bad cholesterol as well as lowering the good cholesterol in our bodies, thus potentially causing cholesterol problems. Obesity can also cause blood pressure levels to rise. Obesity can also cause diabetes, which is another risk factor for heart disease. Obesity is linked to inflammation – particularly “hidden inflammation”. Inflammation in the body, particularly in the circulatory system, can increase the risk of atherosclerosis – the buildup of plaque within the walls of arteries – leading to heart disease. These aspects of obesity clearly indicate the link between heart disease and obesity. However, just because a person is overweight does not necessarily mean that they WILL have heart problems. There are a variety of factors that affect whether or not a person will have heart problems. However, it is often the case that secondary complications of obesity compound the risk for heart disease.
What is heart disease?
“Heart disease” is a group of conditions that affect the heart and its blood vessels, such as:
- Heart failure
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attacks
According to the CDC, one in every four deaths each year is related to heart disease. There are several risk factors for getting heart disease. The more risk factors a person has, the higher the chance of them developing heart disease. Some risk factors are ones that you cannot control, however several of them can be reduced or removed by life choices and awareness. Risk factors for heart disease include1:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
- Gender – men are more likely than woman to have heart disease
- Age – the older a person, the more likely they are to have heart disease
- Genetic history
The risk factors that you can change to reduce your risk of heart disease are obesity, physical activity levels, stress levels (not in all situations, but in some), smoking & alcohol consumption. Medical conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure can be managed by a medical team, and by addressing them, a person is able to reduce their risk of heart disease. Since obesity itself is a risk factor for some of these medical conditions, managing your weight is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Ways to decrease your risk for heart disease
Doctors agree that eating healthily to lose weight and being active is the number one thing that a person can do to reduce their risk of heart disease. It is well known that diet and exercise go hand in hand when addressing weight loss. The American Heart Association explains that in people who have lost weight,
- 98% of them changed to healthier habits
- 94% of them increased their levels of physical activity
It has been found that walking has many benefits for the body. Physical activity for general health and weight loss does not have to be rigorous exercise. Did you know research shows that walking frequently has a positive impact on one’s health and can significantly reduce a person’s chances of heart disease?
If you consuming alcohol or smoke, taking steps to limit or remove these from your life is also helpful in reducing heart disease risk. Often, finding a support system for this is incredibly valuable. Working together with your health care team is an essential part of managing your risk for heart disease, as they can help you with addressing as many of the factors that apply to you personally as possible.
At Natural Bio Health, our wellness specialists are able to assist you managing in the medical risk factors – checking for blood pressure and cholesterol problems, recommending treatment, and assisting you with a customized weight loss program. We offer you continual support and encouragement in your journey.
At Natural Bio Health, we believe in “Optimal Health for an Optimal Life”. Even if you do not feel you are at high risk for heart disease but would like to protect your heart for your later years, we have a number of heart-healthy products such as Cardio support and MCT oil (check out our article here on MCT oil and it’s benefits) to assist you in living a healthy heart-protecting lifestyle.
Contact Natural Bio Health Today
Learn more about taking control of your well-being with Natural Bio Health. Join the wellness journey to achieve optimal health, fight disease and boost immune health to combat viruses.
Our team of specialists offers telemedicine services through video and phone calls. We are also seeing patients in person at our offices, but are abiding by new, strict safety precautions. To schedule your appointment, contact us here. We serve patients in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Round Rock, and College Station.
- British Heart Foundation
- Everyday Health:
- Very Well Heath:
- American Heart Association
- Penn Medicine