Heart Disease in Active People

By: Rachel Brandt & Corrina Trimble

Active but Still at Risk?

Do you...
-live an active lifestyle by eating healthy and exercising regularly?
-avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption?
-feel you do not need to see a doctor because you are in good health?
With this in mind, do you also...
-have a family history of high cholesterol and/or pre-diabetes?
-have a high total cholesterol level?
-suffer from heart pain during physical activity?
If so, you may be at risk of developing heart disease.

Why you may be at risk for developing heart disease

While you may stay in shape by exercising frequently, have a high-protein low-carbohydrate diet, and avoid smoking and alcohol, your genetics may put you at risk of developing heart disease. Having a history of high cholesterol can increase your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. You can access you risk of developing heart disease by checking your cholesterol and triglycerides level.

Healthy HDL Cholesterol Level: >60

Healthy LDL Cholesterol Level: <130

Healthy Total Cholesterol Level: <200

Healthy Triglycerides Level: >150

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How your healthy choices may be negatively affecting you

Though you may believe it is healthy to have a low fat, high protein diet, this way of eating could pose potential health problems. Most protein comes from animal meat; the problem being that animal meat contains cholesterol. If you eat high amounts of protein and have a family history of high cholesterol; you are at an extreme risk of developing heart disease, though you may be unaware of this. With this high amount of cholesterol in your system, even though you appear healthy, you might be in danger of having a heart attack or stroke. For example, if you are working out and your chest begins to hurt, it could be due to your heart not getting enough oxygenated blood because of plaque build up caused by high levels of cholesterol.

How to live a healthier life

Ways to maintain a healthier lifestyle:
-Eat less meat and more food low in LDL cholesterol, such as walnuts and lentils
-Continue to exercise regularly
-Do not start smoking or drinking large amounts of alcohol
-Visit a doctor every 6 months or so to make sure your cholesterol does not get too high
-Take medication to lower cholesterol levels if recommended by a doctor
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-High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need To Know. (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2016, from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/heart-cholesterol-hbc-what-htm
-Hypercholesterolemia. (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2016, from https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/hypercholesterolemia