Who Is at Risk for Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the most common cause of death for both men and women. You may be wondering if it is genetic or if there are risk factors that you can modify in your lifestyle to help prevent heart disease. Some risks, such as increasing age, are unavoidable. However, others can be reduced by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Read on to learn about heart disease causes and the most common risk factors.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure during exercise is normal and can help keep your heart functioning optimally. However, when you have chronically elevated blood pressure (such as with a diagnosis of hypertension), the constant strain on the blood vessels of your heart can cause the development of plaques and vessel narrowing.

High Cholesterol

When you have high cholesterol, you are more likely to develop plaque buildup (known as “atherosclerosis”) in the vessels of your heart. This can make you more vulnerable to a heart attack or stroke.

High Blood Sugar

The concentration of sugar in your blood can affect the health of the blood vessels of your heart. Having chronically high blood sugar (such as with a diagnosis of diabetes) can damage the integrity of the very small blood vessels of your heart, negatively affecting your heart health.


Smoking can be a very hard habit to break. However, smoking not only affects the health of your lungs, it also hurts your heart health. Smoking can narrow the blood vessels of your heart, and also makes your tissue less flexible, which can increase your likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.

Sedentary Lifestyle

A lack of activity or regular exercise in your daily routine can put you at risk for heart disease. This is because your muscles and blood vessels work together to supply blood to the heart and keep your circulatory system “humming.” In order for them to perform optimally, you need to move your body frequently. The American Heart Associates recommends at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity per week. 


Sometimes, no matter what good habits you stick to, you develop heart disease. If someone in your family developed heart disease at a young age, you might have genes that make you more susceptible to heart disease, regardless of your lifestyle choices.

How to Manage Heart Disease Risk

Having the above risk factors can make you more vulnerable to developing heart disease, but Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates (HCA) can help. HCA is committed to providing the highest quality heart disease treatment in a patient-centered environment. Our offices are conveniently located in Flemington, Clinton, and Bridgewater. We have subspecialty offices available to ensure that our patients receive the most evidence-based care for their condition. To make an appointment with one of our cardiologists, please contact us today.

Posted in: Cardiovascular Diseases

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