(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Families tend to pass things down from generation to generation: jewelry, family heirlooms and unfortunately, sometimes a history of heart disease.
However, Mosaic Life Care’s team of heart health experts said hereditary heart disease poses a small risk factor than some lifestyle choices.
“Family history can increase a person’s risk for heart disease. It is about 2-5% increase for that person and it is one of those risk factors we can’t modify,” said Corinne Ridens, DO for Mosaic Life Care.
The American Heart Association said 80% of heart disease is preventable.
While family genetics cannot be modified, Ridens said lifestyle choices can be and they play the bigger role in heart disease.
“We can lower the risk of heart disease by modifying those risk factors that are easily adjusted through lifestyle change,” said Ridens, “One of the big things I like to show smokers is what is your risk right now, but if we take away the smoking, it’s even more effective than going on a cholesterol lowering medication for most patients. So, by removing one factor, you can have dramatic improvement.”
As for diet, heart health experts said Americans are eating too much sugar and not enough healthy fats, “Most Americans are consuming about 70 grams of sugar per day, where as a woman you should have less than 24 grams per day. It’s a huge difference,” said Ridens.
The American Heart Association has seven lifestyle changes that are said to lower the risk of heart disease. They’re called ‘Life’s Simple 7’: stop smoking, eat better, get active, lose weight, manage blood pressure, control cholesterol and reduce blood sugar.
All of these lifestyle choices can be monitored and tracked on the American Heart Associations online tool, My Life Check.
Heart health experts said knowing how your lifestyle is affecting your heart is the first step in making a healthy change.
“A lot of women don’t realize heart disease and stroke are the number one cause of death in American women. So, understanding the risk is important because the majority of those risks can be modified,” said Ridens.
Ridens said for those with family history of heart disease, 20-years-old is the age they start assessing those family risk factors.
This year’s Go Red for Women luncheon will be held virtual do to the pandemic. It takes place on Zoom on October 9th at noon.