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Heart Disease Prevention & Risk Factors

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University Health Heart & Vascular Institute 
210-64-HEART (3278)

Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program 
210-644-1230

Heart Disease Prevention & Risk Factors

Some risk factors contribute to your chance of heart disease. While some of these cannot be prevented, such as aging and family history, some are manageable.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

  • Being a man or a postmenopausal woman
  • Complications during pregnancy like high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia or eclampsia
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High alcohol intake
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Poor oral health
  • Sleep apnea
  • Smoking
  • Unhealthy diet high in salt and saturated fat
  • Unmanaged stress

Here you will find heart doctors who work together to treat conditions that lead to heart problems. You won’t have to travel to find the specialized care you need — we’re all in one place.

A flat design styled fitness and exercise icon with a long side shadow.
Are you at risk for heart disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

Our free online risk assessment only takes a few minutes. It will help you better understand your risk of developing heart disease and how you may be able to lower it.

Tips to Prevent Heart Disease

People who smoke are 2-4 times more likely to develop heart disease than non-smokers. Smoking cigarettes: 

  • Lowers “good” cholesterol
  • Increases plaque buildup in blood vessels
  • May block blood flow to the heart

We’re here to help. Find resources at University Health:

Choosing healthy foods can help lower your risk for heart disease. Find heart-healthy recipes on our website.

A heart-healthy diet includes:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy proteins
  • Foods high in fiber

Try to limit your intake of: 

  • Alcohol
  • Saturated fats 
  • Trans fats
  • Salt
  • Sugar

Staying at a healthy weight can help lower your risk for heart disease. Ask your primary care provider what a healthy weight is for you.

Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and keeps your heart muscle strong. Most adults need about 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate physical activity each week. Ask your primary care provider before starting a new exercise routine.

Find an activity or exercise you enjoy, like: 

  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Bicycling
  • Hiking
Doctors
  1. Eric Yang, MD
    Eric Yang, MD
    Cardiology
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  2. Ildiko Agoston, MD
    Ildiko Agoston, MD
    Cardiology Nuclear Cardiology
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  3. Mahi Ashwath, MD
    Cardiology
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Heart Health Assessment

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Our free online risk assessment only takes a few minutes. It will help you better understand your risk of developing heart disease and how you may be able to lower it.