CHD Modifiable Risk Factors: What You Need to Know and How to Prevent Them

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a condition that occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked by plaque, a fatty substance that builds up on the inner walls of the arteries. CHD can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, and heart attack.

CHD is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for about 16% of all deaths in 2019. However, many cases of CHD can be prevented or delayed by addressing the risk factors that contribute to its development. Some of these risk factors are non-modifiable, meaning they cannot be changed, such as age, sex, family history, race, and ethnicity. However, some risk factors are modifiable, meaning they can be changed or controlled by lifestyle choices or medical interventions.

In this blog post, we will discuss the most common and important modifiable risk factors for CHD, how they affect the heart, and how they can be prevented or reduced. We will also introduce you to Custom University Papers, a one-stop site for all custom college papers, offering high-quality, original, and affordable writing services for various types of assignments related to this topic.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition that occurs when the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries is too high. High blood pressure can damage the arteries, making them more prone to plaque formation and narrowing. High blood pressure can also strain the heart, making it work harder to pump blood and increasing the risk of heart failure.

High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it usually has no symptoms until it causes serious complications. Therefore, it is important to check your blood pressure regularly and follow your doctor’s advice on how to manage it. Some of the ways to lower your blood pressure include:

  • Eating a healthy diet that is low in salt, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
  • Being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if you are overweight or obese.
  • Limiting alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
  • Quitting smoking or avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Managing stress by practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
  • Take medication as prescribed by your doctor, if lifestyle changes are not enough to control your blood pressure.

High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in the blood and the cells of the body. Cholesterol is essential for many functions, such as making hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids. However, too much cholesterol in the blood can be harmful, as it can stick to the walls of the arteries and form plaque, which can reduce blood flow and increase the risk of CHD.

Cholesterol is divided into two types: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is often called the “bad” cholesterol, as it carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells, where it can accumulate and cause damage. HDL is often called the “good” cholesterol, as it carries cholesterol from the cells back to the liver, where it can be removed from the body. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol is an important indicator of the risk of CHD. The higher the ratio, the higher the risk.

Some of the ways to lower your cholesterol levels and improve your ratio include:

  • Eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, and high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and plant sterols and stanols.
  • Being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if you are overweight or obese.
  • Quitting smoking or avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Take medication as prescribed by your doctor, if lifestyle changes are not enough to control your cholesterol levels.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin or use it properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the cells of the body to take up glucose, or sugar, from the blood and use it for energy. When the blood glucose level is too high, it can damage the blood vessels and nerves, leading to various complications, such as CHD.

Diabetes can increase the risk of CHD by affecting the arteries, the heart, and the blood. Diabetes can cause the arteries to become stiff and narrow, reducing blood flow and oxygen delivery to the heart. Diabetes can also weaken the heart muscle, impairing its ability to pump blood and increasing the risk of heart failure. Diabetes can also increase the tendency of the blood to clot, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Diabetes can be prevented or delayed by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Some of the ways to prevent or manage diabetes include:

  • Eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fat, and high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein.
  • Being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if you are overweight or obese.
  • Monitoring your blood glucose level regularly and following your doctor’s advice on how to control it.
  • Take medication as prescribed by your doctor, if lifestyle changes are not enough to control your blood glucose level.

Smoking

Smoking is one of the most preventable causes of CHD. Smoking can damage the arteries, the heart, and the blood in several ways. Smoking can cause the arteries to become inflamed, narrow, and hard, reducing blood flow and oxygen delivery to the heart. Smoking can also increase the heart rate and blood pressure, making the heart work harder and increasing the risk of heart failure. Smoking can also reduce the level of HDL cholesterol, increase the level of LDL cholesterol, and make the blood more sticky and prone to clotting, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The best way to prevent or reduce the risk of CHD from smoking is to quit smoking or avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Quitting smoking can have immediate and long-term benefits for the heart and overall health. Some of the benefits of quitting smoking include:

  • Within 20 minutes, the heart rate and blood pressure drop to normal levels.
  • Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal levels.
  • Within 2 weeks to 3 months, the circulation and lung function improve.
  • Within 1 year, the risk of CHD is cut by half.
  • Within 5 years, the risk of stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
  • Within 15 years, the risk of CHD is similar to that of a nonsmoker.

Quitting smoking can be challenging, but many resources and strategies can help. Some of the ways to quit smoking include:

  • Setting a quit date and preparing for it by getting rid of all cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays.
  • Seeking support from family, friends, health professionals, or online communities.
  • Using nicotine replacement products, such as patches, gums, lozenges, inhalers, or sprays, to ease the withdrawal symptoms.
  • Taking medication, such as bupropion or varenicline, to reduce the craving and the pleasure of smoking.
  • Joining a smoking cessation program, such as a counseling service, a hotline, or an app, to get advice and guidance.
  • Avoiding triggers, such as stress, alcohol, or certain people or places, that may tempt you to smoke.
  • Rewarding yourself for your progress and celebrating your achievements.

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