When Should You Start Caring About Your Heart Health?

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When Should You Start Caring About Your Heart Health?

When you’re young, heart problems are the last thing on your mind. But it’s never too early to care about your heart. Cardiovascular disease can begin in adolescence, and the lifestyle you follow now sets the stage for future heart attacks.

When should you start caring about your heart health? There’s only one answer and that’s right now

Parents should guard the heart health of their teens. Young adults should develop lifestyle habits that prevent early cardiovascular disease. And older adults need to stay on a healthy path to lower their risk of having a heart attack.

Taking care of your heart isn’t complicated. It comes down to lifestyle basics, knowing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and practicing preventive cardiology.

At ARK Cardiovascular & Arrhythmia Center, we specialize in helping people prevent heart disease. The first step is understanding that it’s never too soon to care about your heart health.

Heart problems begin at an early age

Most young and middle-aged adults don’t start each day wondering about how to take care of their heart. They’re healthy and think cardiovascular disease is a problem for older people.

It’s easy and understandable to take that approach because the average age for having a first heart attack is 65 for men and 72 for women. But there’s a glitch in thinking you’ll worry about heart disease down the road.

You can’t put off caring for your heart health, because the conditions that cause a heart attack are building in your body for years before they cause any problems.

You don’t suddenly get sick and have a heart attack. You’ve been getting sick for decades, but you didn’t know it. Cardiovascular diseases progressively develop for years without causing symptoms.

Here are a few facts to highlight why it’s never too early to care about the health of your heart:

  • One in five adolescents have high cholesterol (a leading risk factor for heart disease)
  • One in five people who have a heart attack are younger than 40
  • Heart attacks in young people have increased by 2% yearly for the last 10 years

Unfortunately, the first sign you have a problem is often a heart attack. On the positive side, the diseases that cause heart attacks are preventable.

About preventive cardiology

It’s never too early or too late to make lifestyle changes that protect your heart. How you live early in life determines your risk of heart disease as you get older. Making changes when you’re older can still prevent cardiovascular disease or slow down the progression of existing disease.

These are the first steps to take if you want to keep your heart healthy:

Know your risks

The factors that increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease include:

  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Being diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being a smoker
  • Consuming too much alcohol
  • Dealing with constant stress
  • Consuming an unhealthy diet
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle

The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to develop atherosclerosis, the buildup of cholesterol that blocks arteries. You can take care of your heart and prevent problems by lowering your risk factors.

Get routine screenings

It’s important to get routine screenings for the conditions that lead to heart disease. For example, people with an average risk of developing cardiovascular disease should begin cholesterol and blood pressure screenings around the age of 18-20. 

If you have a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, you may need more frequent screenings. We can help you determine the best schedule after an initial cardiology assessment. 

Schedule preventive cardiology care

Since unhealthy changes in your arteries can begin during your teen years, consider scheduling your initial heart screening by the age of 20. During this exam, we review your medical history, thoroughly assess your risk factors, and run baseline testing to determine the current state of your cardiovascular health.

Once we have that information, we can work with you to create a lifestyle plan that prevents future problems. We also treat existing health conditions that contribute to cardiovascular disease.

You’re not alone when it comes to maintaining a strong, healthy heart. Though many cardiology practices only focus on treating problems after they arise, we prefer to start with preventive care so you can avoid heart conditions.

We also offer concierge services that make preventive cardiology care easy. We bring the highest quality of care to you with home visits, 24-hour phone and email access, and telehealth.

To learn more about how to take care of your heart health, call our office in Dearborn or Detroit, Michigan, or book an appointment online today.