According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. While lifestyle factors may impact heart disease, genetics also play a significant role. “If you adjust your lifestyle and get active and strict with what you eat, you can lower bad cholesterol by about 25% to 30%,” says Luke Laffin, MD. “But the rest is genetically driven. And we can’t reverse risk factors such as genetics, family history and aging.” Here is the blood type most commonly associated with heart problems. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Exercise is crucial in helping prevent heart issues, even in people genetically predisposed to getting heart disease. “The heart is a muscle that needs exercise. Getting the heart rate in an aerobic training zone maintains that heart-pumping, or systolic, function,” says Dr. Laffin, who recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. “But more importantly, regular physical activity can lead to lower blood pressure and weight stability. And once you have made aerobic physical activity a habit, start adding in some resistance training using light weights or bands. Even two to five times a week can help stave off heart disease.”
Genetics aside, smoking is a leading cause of heart problems and responsible for 20% of all deaths from coronary heart disease. “Given the current level of evidence on tobacco and cardiovascular health and the health benefits of quitting smoking, failing to offer cessation services to patients with heart disease could be considered clinical malpractice or negligence,” says Dr Eduardo Bianco, Chair of the World Heart Federation Tobacco Expert Group. “Cardiology societies should train their members in smoking cessation, as well as to promote and even drive tobacco control advocacy efforts.”
You can’t change your blood type—but you can change your diet. “We focus on a Mediterranean-style diet of eating for optimum heart health,” says Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic who works in preventative cardiology. “The Mediterranean diet is abundant in fruits and vegetables, grains, fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Starting off with eating more meatless meals will definitely get you closer to heart health. Incorporating beans, legumes, any kind of nuts and seeds, and meatless products like tofu, tempeh, if you want to get adventurous into your diet a little more regularly. .”
Dangerously high cholesterol can lead to heart attack and stroke, so make sure to have cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis after age 20, no matter what your heart disease risk may be. “A lipid panel is an easy, inexpensive screening blood test that can be very helpful in identifying patients that are at risk for cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Laffin.
Blood types A, B, or AB are the most dangerous when it comes to heart disease. “While people cannot change their blood type, our findings may help physicians better understand who is at risk for developing heart disease,” says Lu Qi, Ph.D. “It’s good to know your blood type in the same way you should know your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers. If you know you’re at higher risk, you can reduce the risk by adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as eating right, exercising, and not smoking.” And to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more