What Are The Lesser-Known Signs You May Be At Risk For Heart Disease?

The more you are informed about heart disease, the better chance you have of beating it. Did you know that heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all cancers combined. Fortunately, this can be changed because 80% of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented through education and action.

FACT: You have the power to lower your risk of a heart disease through your lifestyle choices by not smoking, staying slim through exercising and eating a healthy diet. This may cut your odds of having a heart attack by 92%.



Your Parent/s Had A Heart Attack (Can Raise Your Risk 70%–340%)
If you have a parent or sibling who had heart disease before age 65, you have a 70% chance of developing the same. If two or more parents are affected, your risk goes up more than fourfold. “Genetics loads the gun; lifestyle factors pull the trigger,” says C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, director of the Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Therefore, even if you have a strong family history of heart disease, you can still lower your risk by eating healthy, exercising and not smoking.

You Spend Most of The Day Sitting Down (Can Raise Your Risk 50%–100%)
If you sit for long periods of time, fat circulates in your bloodstream longer, and your HDL or good cholesterol can’t clear artery-clogging plaque from your system well. Try to walk about 5 minutes every hour, more – better!

You’re Over-scheduled and Overwhelmed (Can Raise Your Risk 40%)
Of course you can’t avoid stress but keeping the lid on it is very helpful. We have discussed how to manage stress in the past emails. Out-of-control tension means your adrenaline levels are constantly elevated. This increases blood pressure and blood sugar which can damage blood vessels. Know how to keep stress levels low especially with demanding jobs plus managing household, finances and family.

You’re Tired All The Time (Can Raise Your Risk 45%)
Did you know that people who almost always had trouble sleeping or didn’t wake up feeling refreshed had a 45% increased risk for heart attack. Even those who tossed and turned as few as two nights a week had a 27% higher risk. You need at least 6 hours of sleep. You can get a good night’s sleep by starting to wind down about 30 minutes before bed, keeping electronics out of the bedroom and eating dinner at least 2 hours before you turn in.

High Cholesterol (Can Raise Your Risk 72%)
Cholesterol over 240 increases your heart attack risk by 72%. Keep your LDL or bad cholesterol under 130 mg/dL (under 100 if you have one or more additional heart disease risk factors)—and your HDL cholesterol (which helps prevent plaque buildup) at 60 mg/dL or above.

Diabetes (Can Raise Your Risk 100%)
People who are 45 and older, including those who are overweight and have one or more risk factors for heart disease or diabetes (including a family history), should get a blood sugar test. Normal blood glucose is under 100. If the result is 126 mg/dL or higher, you have diabetes, and your heart disease and stroke risk is at least twice that of people without the disease. If you fall between 100 and 125, you have pre-diabetes and still need to take action.


1. Stop smoking or be around smokers – I don’t need to elaborate but you know this goes a long way!2. Get 30 minutes daily – Do some moderate-intensity activity into your daily schedule. This will keep your heart muscle in good working order, it also keeps just about every heart disease risk factor in check. This will keep your weight steady, alter where you store fat (away from your stomach), and keep blood pressure and glucose levels low (which prevents diabetes), increases HDL cholesterol and lowers LDL, and reduces stress.

3. Add 20 – Yes, 20 minutes of strength training at least twice a week will help you build muscle and burn more calories.

4. Increase plant-based diet – Eat more vegetables and fruits and less meat as well as high fiber whole grains, fish (at least twice a week), as well as foods high in the “good” monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like nuts, olives, avocados, and olive and canola oils

5. Keep salt levels low

6. Manage stress – Take just 10 minutes a day to do something you enjoy—whether it’s listening to music, knitting, reading a novel. It will make a big difference in your stress levels.

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