There are, however, many risk factors that can be changed or addressed:
- Tobacco use. Smoking is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and those who quit can greatly reduce that risk.
- Diet. Dr. Malinics says cardiologists recommend the AHA’s cardiac diet, which is low in salt, includes plenty of vegetables, fruits and grains, and minimizes consumption of red meats and fried foods.
- Exercise. Regular exercise is critical to good cardiovascular health.
- Weight. Dr. Malinics says to avoid fad diets, such as the keto diet, and stick with the tried-and-true cardiac diet.
- Medical management. High cholesterol and high blood pressure should be treated aggressively, which may include the use of prescription medications. Statins, in particular, are an important drug for high cholesterol.
“If more people saw their primary care physician regularly, took prescribed medications, moved a little more throughout the day and watched their diet, we’d see the numbers in this report coming down,” says Dr. Malinics. “There are many factors that can reduce heart disease risk.”