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6 Conditions That Increase Your Risk Of Heart Disease
People with diabetes are at least twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke as those who don't have diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health. And when someone with diabetes has a heart attack, it tends to be more serious, probably because chronically elevated glucose levels can damage the blood vessels.
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It's not just full-blown diabetes that can lead to heart disease, though. Impaired glucose tolerance, or prediabetes—a condition in which glucose levels in the blood are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes—can also hurt your heart. Consider this extra incentive to stay physically active, quit smoking, and keep your weight down.
As if the pain and fertility problems associated with endometriosis—a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of it—weren't bad enough, this condition also appears to raise your risk of heart disease. A new study from the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes analyzed data on more than 116,000 women and discovered that those with endometriosis were significantly more likely to develop coronary heart disease. The likely reason: Endometriosis usually goes hand-in-hand with chronic inflammation, damage from free radicals (oxidative stress), and elevated lipid levels.
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If you have preeclampsia (a pregnancy complication that causes dangerously high blood pressure) or gestational diabetes, you might assume you can stop worrying as soon as your baby is born. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Women who've had either of these conditions are more likely than others to develop high blood pressure down the line—and those issues predispose you to heart disease at a young age. (Load up on these 13 foods that lower blood pressure naturally.)
The American Heart Association added preeclampsia and gestational diabetes to its list of coronary risk factors in 2011, but it's taking some time for that information to spread, says Ellen Wells Seely, MD, the director of Brigham and Women's Hospital's clinical research, endocrinology, diabetes, and hypertension division and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Are you producing too much thyroid hormone? Or too little? Both can be bad for your heart.
An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) produces too much of the hormone that stimulates the heart to contract, making it beat too fast. That can raise blood pressure and cause an irregular heartbeat. The opposite happens with an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism): The heart beats too slowly and blood pressure goes down, while cholesterol levels can rise. The good news is that treating a thyroid disorder can help protect your heart.
Video: What are the six main risk factors for cardiovascular disease ? | Your Health FAQS
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