The more inflammation you have, the more you need to avoid getting the condition, says Dr. Peter DeStefano, MD, a cardiovascular disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.
And it turns out there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
Here are some of the things you should know about your risk factors for heart disease.
Body temperature You have more blood pressure when you are stressed, or when you have a stressful situation, says DeSteffano, and your blood pressure tends to rise as you sweat more.2.
Excess cholesterol The cholesterol that your body produces naturally in the blood stream is what you need for your heart to pump blood efficiently.
And as it ages, it gets more cholesterol from your liver.
It can be as much as 200 milligrams per deciliter, or about four to five times the amount of cholesterol found in butter, says Tomi Ruhlmann, MD.
It’s also why you see more of it in the arteries and veins in your neck and neck muscles.3.
Your cholesterol levels can be higher than normalWhen you are under stress, you may have high cholesterol levels, says Ruh.
So if you are overweight or obese, you might have elevated levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, in your blood.
If you are a smoker, high cholesterol may be an issue as well.
If your cholesterol levels are elevated, your body is more likely to produce more cholesterol.4.
Stressful environments Stress can increase the amount and the intensity of stress your body has to deal with.
If there is more pressure or danger in a stressful environment, it can lead to inflammation in your arteries.5.
Stress-induced muscle soreness (SIS) Muscle soreness is a type of inflammation that can develop in your joints, particularly when you exercise.
When this occurs, the blood vessels that connect your joints to your bones are inflamed.
These can also result in more swelling of the area around your muscles, especially your wrists and ankles.
If this happens, it is called muscle sore.
If it does not go away after a few days, it could eventually cause swelling in your hands and feet.6.
Heart disease and heart attacks There are two types of heart disease, and if you have one, it may cause inflammation in the heart.
“The main risk factors are a high blood pressure and diabetes,” says DeSue.
“If your blood cholesterol is too high, the risk for heart attack is higher.”7.
Increased risk of obesity People who have a high body fat percentage, as well as people with high blood sugar levels, have increased risk of coronary artery disease and cardiovascular disease, according to DeSteffeo.8.
Stress hormone imbalance The stress hormone oxytocin is released in response to the stress hormone adrenaline, and it can cause feelings of helplessness and loneliness, says Keisha Smith, MD., an associate professor of medicine at University of South Carolina.
And people with low oxytocino levels may experience more emotional stress.9.
Diabetes Diabetes and high blood glucose levels can cause insulin resistance and other metabolic problems, and they are linked to heart disease in general.
And high blood lipids can cause a buildup of cholesterol in the body.10.
Excessive alcohol consumption If you drink too much alcohol, your blood sugar level will rise and your body won’t be able to properly pump insulin.
So when you drink alcohol, it’s not only contributing to your risk for obesity and heart disease but also to developing type 2 diabetes.
And if you do develop type 2, you will have a much higher risk of getting heart disease later on, says Smith.