Globally, heart disease is the primary cause of mortality, accounting for approximately one-third of all deaths each year. One way to assess your risk of developing heart disease is through a calcium heart score, which measures the amount of calcium deposits in your coronary arteries. Calcium deposits in the arteries can lead to the development of plaque, which can narrow the arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.
Factors That Increase Calcium Heart Score
Several factors can increase your risk of developing calcium deposits in your coronary arteries, which can lead to an elevated calcium heart score. These factors include:
- Age And Gender: As we age, our risk of developing calcium deposits in our arteries increases. Men also tend to have a higher risk of developing calcium deposits than women.
- High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure, commonly known as hypertension, can damage the artery walls, leaving them more vulnerable to calcium deposits.
- High Cholesterol: High levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, can cause plaque buildup in the arteries, leading to calcium deposits.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can increase the risk of developing calcium deposits in the arteries, as well as other complications related to heart disease.
- Smoking: Smoking can damage the walls of the arteries, making them more prone to developing calcium deposits.
- Family History: A family history of heart disease or calcium deposits in the arteries can increase your risk of developing the same.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Obesity and other health problems might lead to the formation of calcium deposits due to a lack of physical exercise.
Reducing Your Risk Of Heart Disease
While some factors that contribute to an elevated calcium heart score, such as age and family history, are beyond our control, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Here are some tips:
- Eat A Heart-Healthy Diet: A heart-healthy diet can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure. High-fiber diets including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help decrease cholesterol. Limiting saturated and trans fats, as well as sodium, can help lower blood pressure.
- Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce blood pressure. Most days of the week, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise.
- Quit Smoking: Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for cardiac disease. If you smoke, quitting can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease and other health problems.
- Manage Your Blood Pressure And Cholesterol: If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, work with your healthcare provider to manage these conditions. Medications, lifestyle changes, or a combination of both can help keep these conditions under control.
- Manage Your Diabetes: If you have diabetes, work with your healthcare provider to manage your blood sugar levels. Controlling your blood sugar levels can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and other diabetes-related complications.
- Manage Stress: Stress can contribute to high blood pressure and other health problems that can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Find healthy stress-management practices such as meditation, yoga, or other relaxation techniques.