10 Ways You’re Increasing Your Risk of Heart Disease

Man having troubles with his heart

This man might want to protect his heart by eating better. | iStock.com

Odds are, heart disease is going to kill you. That’s just by sheer probability, of course — it’s not a guarantee. You can do your best to lower your risk, of course, but if you take a look at the list of America’s most common causes of death, heart disease lands squarely on top.

Heart disease, by definition, is a fairly broad term. It is often called cardiovascular disease as it actually affects your entire cardiovascular system. But the most common form, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is coronary heart disease. “It is a disorder of the blood vessels of the heart that can lead to heart attack. A heart attack happens when an artery becomes blocked, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart.”

Essentially, our internal plumbing (arteries and veins) become clogged up with plaque. Eventually, our blood flow becomes blocked, and as a result, we suffer a heart attack or stroke. There are other associated medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and angina, but when encapsulated into one lump category, we generally refer to it all as heart disease.

And again, it kills more people in the United States than anything else. The good news? It’s largely preventable if you’re willing to take the necessary steps. The most basic things you can do to prevent it? Fix your diet and exercise. It’s fairly simple on the surface.

But there are things we do that elevate our risk, too. Most of them you have some level of control over, so if you’re willing to make the necessary changes, you can. Here are 10 ways you’re increasing your risk of heart disease.