What is Your Heart Disease Risk? Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and women, however women are statistically experience heart attacks 10 years later in life than men. Knowing your personal risk ahead of time can prevent ever experiencing one. What is your risk? 1. How old are you? As we age, arteries become increasingly thick and stiff, resulting in heightened heart disease risks such as high blood pressure. 2. Does any of your immediate family suffer from heart disease? If you have a family history of heart disease, you are at a heightened risk. However, a genetic predisposition does not mean you will experience heart problems. Dietary and lifestyle caution can greatly decrease your risk. 3. Do you smoke? People who smoke are at least twice as likely, if not four times as likely to develop heart disease or stroke. If you are a smoker, your risk is divided in half after only one year if you quit. 4. Do you exercise? A sedentary lifestyle heightens heart disease risk. With moderate to intense exercise, you can decrease your heart risk by 30 to 40 percent, and eliminate the risk of stroke by 25 percent. Exercise is key in lowering stress levels, as well as maintaining healthy weight. 5. Do you eat healthy? Foods high in fat, salt, and sugar contribute to your risk of heart attack and stroke. Try to limit processed and fried foods. To lower your risk, increase your fiber intake with produce. Fish are also a heart-healthy dietary option. By improving your diet, you can help lower other heart disease risk factors such as excess weight and high blood pressure. A heart healthy diet is especially important in individuals with diabetes or family history of heart disease. Discuss what is best for you with one of the experts at Cardiology and Interventional Vascular Associates.