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Heart Disease Behavior

Person eating a salad.

Tobacco Use

Tobacco use increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Cigarette smoking promotes atherosclerosis and increases the levels of blood clotting factors, such as fibrinogen. Also, nicotine raises blood pressure, and carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen that blood can carry. Exposure to other people's smoke can increase the risk of heart disease even for nonsmokers.

Diet

Several aspects of peoples' dietary patterns have been linked to heart disease and related conditions. These include diets high in saturated fats and cholesterol, which raise blood cholesterol levels and promote atherosclerosis. High salt or sodium in the diet causes raised blood pressure levels.

Physical Inactivity

Physical inactivity is related to the development of heart disease. It also can impact other risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, a low level of HDL (good) cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular physical activity can improve risk factor levels.

Obesity

Obesity is excess body fat. It is linked to higher LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to lower HDL (good) cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Alcohol

Excessive alcohol use leads to an increase in blood pressure, and increases the risk for heart disease. It also increases blood levels of triglycerides which contributes to atherosclerosis.


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