What Is Heart Disease?

Alpine Cardiology Check Your Blood PressureMost simply say heart disease when referring to coronary heart disease. Heart disease is when the arteries that supply the blood to the heart become narrowed and hardened because of plaque buildup on the inner walls of the artery. As plaque, an accumulation of fat, cholesterol and other substances build up in the arteries the flow of blood to the heart is reduced.

Heart disease may lead to a heart attack. When an artery becomes totally blocked with plaque it prevents oxygen and nutrients from reaching the heart and you may have a heart attack. Heart attacks can cause permanent damage to your heart muscle.

Coronary heart disease is one of the cardiovascular diseases which are disorders of the blood vessels and heart. Stroke, high blood pressure, and rheumatic heart disease are also cardiovascular diseases.

Many people think that should they get heart disease that it is easy to cure with surgery. That is not true, heart disease is not cured and it something you will have to manage the rest of your life. Surgery may make symptoms disappear for a time, but the damage has been done. Without out making healthy choices and changes to your lifestyle heart disease will continue to damage your blood vessels. Even with surgery your risk of a heart attack is more likely. Your control your risk factors and it is important that you take the necessary steps to help prevent heart disease.

Who Is at Risk?

You are more likely to develop heart disease if you have certain habit or risk factors. These risk factors/habits can also increase the chances of your disease getting worse if you already have heart disease.

Alpine Cardiology Food ChoicesRisk factors/habits you can control are cigarette smoking, food choices, overweight, physical inactivity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Research suggests that more than 95 percent of heart disease deaths have at least one of these major risks.

Some Risk factors cannot be changed or controlled. Aging brings risk for many diseases. Women are more likely to develop heart disease after menopause. Estrogen helps protect the heart by keeping the blood vessels flexible and supple which helps to increase blood flow. Estrogen also helps keep blood pressure low and maintaining healthier cholesterol levels.

Aging and heart disease are not only a woman concern. People are more likely to develop heart disease risk factors (high blood pressure and cholesterol, weight gain, less activity) as they reach middle age.

Another risk factor that you cannot do anything about is family history. If your father or brother had a heart attack before age 55, or your mother or sister before age 65 you are at an increased risk of heart disease.

Although there are some factors that you cannot control, you still can make choices to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Just because you are aging or have a family history of heart disease does not mean you should give up. Living a heart healthy lifestyle will help reduce your chances of heart disease.

How Risk Works

Alpine Cardiology Blocked ArteriesIt would be great if we could pick one healthy thing to do for ourselves and indulge in all the other unhealthy activities and have that be enough to protect us from heart disease, weight gain, cancer, etc., but we know that is not true.

Exercising regularly but eating fatty unhealthy food still puts you at risk for heart disease. All risk factors need to be recognized and changed. You do not have to make big changes over night, gradual changes over a few months will help create healthy habits and reduce your risk factors. Small steps are better than no steps.

Risk factors whether individually or multiplied increase your chances of heart disease. Similar to building a tower out of wooden blocks the higher the stack of risks the more likelihood of it tumbling down. A combination of high blood pressure and smoking increase your risk exponentially. Heart disease risks needs to be taken seriously before it develops. The best time to reduce the risk is before you have heart disease but taking steps for a healthier lifestyle will help at any stage.

Dr. Bobish

Dr. Bobish and her team’s goal is to help you reduce your risk of heart disease. Helping you to understand your risk factors and making healthful lifestyle changes.

Remember regardless of age or current state of health it is never too late to start protecting your heart. It is also never too soon and the sooner you act the better. Follow us on Facebook to see our latest post helping to keep you heart healthy. You can also explore all our articles that offer diet and exercise tips, recipes and information on procedures and heart disease.

Dr. Bobish and her team focus on preventative care and are here to support you. Alpine Cardiology provides patients with education as well as compassionate care and treatment. We are committed to keeping you healthy and heart smart! Request an appointment at 989-448-7002

Guide to a Healthy Heart

We are committed to keeping Northern Michigan healthy and heart-smart!

Over the next several months we will be publishing a series of articles that will become A Guide to a Healthy Heart. By breaking these guidelines into chapters we are able to offer more in depth information on the topics. Watch our Facebook page or website for the latest article.

Alpine Cardiology’s goal is to give you a better understanding of how to live a healthy lifestyle and to take care of your heart. To take the mystery out of what the tests are and what they mean. To encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors and how to reduce your risk. The more you know and understand the more likely you are to be successful in reducing risk and having a healthier lifestyle.

Links to published chapters are below if you would like to explore the guide more.

  1. Why should I care about heart disease?
  2. Heart Disease – What you need to know
  3. Are you at risk of developing heart disease?
  4. What are your numbers?
  5. Major Risk Factors