Mark A. Mahoney

A plate of heart healthy foods prepared by Anna Jones, a local dietician and nutritionist, Friday Feb. 15, 2019. The plate includes strawberries, cilantro, a red bell pepper, half an avocado, whole grains, spinach, and a bowl of mixed nuts.

Last week’s column provided an explanation on the various types of heart failure and listed some of the primary risk factors relevant to heart disease. The focus here is to illuminate some of these risk factors by explaining key components for each one.

Additional, more detailed information can be accessed through the links provided in the Resources section at the end of the column. 

Risk factors: blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking 

High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease.

About half of people in the United States (47{44affb6c5789133b77de981cb308c1480316fee51f5fd5f1575b130f48379a33}) have at least one of these three risk factors. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including diabetes, being overweight or obese, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use. In addition stress can also have negative effects on the heart.