If you’re at risk of cardiovascular disease or have been recently diagnosed, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. If you’re overweight or have other risk factors for the disease, your doctor may have recommended some lifestyle changes to help you achieve better health. However, losing weight and adopting healthier habits can be a struggle on your own, especially if diet and exercise alone haven’t worked in the past. While cardiovascular disease is a serious condition, it can be treated or prevented when the right steps are taken.
Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity, and Risk Factors
People who are obese are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease for a few reasons.1 Excess weight means the heart has to work harder. Obesity also increases the risk of other issues that can cause heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Cardiovascular disease can cause symptoms such as dizziness, pain, and shortness of breath, and it can be fatal when left unmanaged.
Risk factors that can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease include:
- Weight: Being overweight increases your risk.
- Age: Men over 45 and women over 55 have a greater risk.
- Gender: Men have a higher risk of heart disease.
- Ethnicity: Some ethnic groups, such as African Americans and South Asians, have a higher risk of heart disease.
- Family history: A family history of heart disease puts you at greater risk.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight is directly linked to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. Losing weight through lifestyle and diet changes will reduce your risk. Bariatric surgery has also been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, as weight loss surgery will help you lose weight when diet and exercise aren’t enough.2 Weight loss surgery options include gastric sleeve, mini gastric bypass, and lap-band® surgery. A board certified bariatric surgeon can help you choose the right weight loss surgery procedure for your health goals.
- Eat a nutritious diet: Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and smaller quantities of omega fatty acids. Limit saturated fats, sugar, and salt.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise at least 30 minutes a day to start reaping the benefits. Exercise will strengthen your heart, improve circulation, and help you maintain a health weight.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke by raising your blood pressure. If you’re currently a smoker, talk to your doctor about quitting.
- Avoid alcohol: Alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It’s also high in calories, which can lead to weight gain.
- Reduce stress: Stress can raise your blood pressure and even lead to a heart attack. Many people also manage stress in unhealthy ways, such as binge eating, smoking, and drinking. Reduce stress as much as you can and find healthier coping mechanisms, such as meditating, listening to music, exercising, and engaging in a hobby.
- Manage diabetes: Your risk of heart disease doubles if you have diabetes. If you think you have diabetes, talk to your doctor and get tested. If you’ve already been diagnosed, make sure you’re keeping it under control with a healthy diet, lifestyle changes, and medication.
- Get enough sleep: Being sleep deprived increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. If you struggle to fall asleep, look into healthy sleep habits and talk to your doctor about your options.
- Monitor your blood pressure: High blood pressure is a strong risk factor for heart disease. Talk to your doctor about getting your blood pressure tested regularly and what lifestyle changes you can make to keep your blood pressure under control.
- Keep cholesterol in check: High cholesterol will increase your risk of heart attack. Get your cholesterol levels tested, and talk to your doctor about medication and lifestyle changes you can make to lower your cholesterol.
Lower Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease with Bariatric Surgery. Receive a Consultation with SmartShape Weight Loss Centre’s Bariatric Surgeons to Learn About Weight Loss Surgery: Gastric Sleeve, Mini Gastric Bypass, and Lap-Band® Surgery
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important ways you can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and improve your overall health. If diet and exercise alone haven’t been enough, you may want to consider weight loss surgery options to help you lose weight and regain your health. Weight loss surgery includes procedures such as the gastric sleeve, mini gastric bypass, and lap-band® surgery. SmartShape Weight Loss Centre works with board certified bariatric surgeons and offers a five-year aftercare program to ensure you stay on track and meet your health goals. Contact our healthcare advisors to book a consultation with a bariatric surgeon to learn more and choose the right procedure for your needs. If you’re not sure if weight loss surgery is right for you, explore our success stories to see how bariatric surgery can transform your life.