Heart Disease continues to be the number one killer in the United States.  There are many risk factors that make people more likely to have heart disease.  I was joined on WJON by CentraCare Cardiologist Dr. Jacob Dutcher.  He highlighted many risk factors which include, diabetes, smoking, being overweight, a lack of exercise, high amount of salt and fat in your diet, age and family history.

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Having high amounts of fat in a person's diet can lead to the hardening of arteries which can lead to elevated cholesterol levels and this can increase your chance or having heart and cardiovascular disease.  Dutcher explains the other key component is salt.  He says this can elevate blood pressure and cause all sorts and heart and cardiovascular problems.  Dutcher says cholesterol numbers matter but the type of cholesterol matters most.  He says the bad cholesterol/LDL and good cholesterol/HDL numbers are important to monitor.  Dutcher says the ratio of those two plays a big role in whether you'll have heart problems.

The symptoms to be aware of with heart disease can be quite subtle according to Dutcher.  He says a fair amount of people don't experience any symptoms until they have quite a large heart event.  Dutcher says subtle symptoms can include getting tired more easily, getting winded, and tightness in the chest,  which he describes as discomfort and not pain.

Prevention of heart disease can include a reduction of salt and fat in the diet, exercise regularly and having regular checkups with your primary provider.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Dr. Jacob Dutcher it is available below.



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