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Understanding Your Heart Disease Risk 

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Understanding Your Heart Disease Risk 

February is a time to celebrate love. But did you know it’s about more than roses, candy hearts, and sweet cards? February is also American Heart Month — and there’s no better time to show your heart some love.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It can affect anyone, and protecting your heart starts with understanding your heart disease risk.

Our AssociatesMD team is here to help. We provide cardiology care in South Florida, and here’s what you should know about the common risk factors for heart disease and when to schedule a heart assessment.

Recognizing heart disease risk factors

Heart disease is often the result of a combination of factors that deteriorate your cardiovascular health over time. Recognizing these risk factors is the first step toward better understanding your health and taking proactive steps to protect it.

Age and sex

As you get older, your risk of heart disease rises. That is primarily due to the effects of aging on your blood vessels and heart.

Men are at higher risk of heart disease than women. In fact, men tend to develop heart disease earlier in life than women, and they are nearly twice as likely to experience heart attacks.

Family history

Your family's health history plays a role in determining your heart disease risk. If any of your close relatives have a history of heart conditions, like heart attacks or strokes, your risk may be higher.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a significant contributor to heart disease. The persistent force of blood against the walls of your arteries can lead to damage that increases your risk of heart problems over time.

High cholesterol

Elevated cholesterol levels in your blood can contribute to plaque formation in your arteries. Plaque restricts blood flow, makes your heart work harder, and increases your risk of heart disease.


Having diabetes is also linked to a higher risk of heart disease. That’s because high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and your heart, particularly if your diabetes isn’t well-managed.


Tobacco smoke contains harmful chemicals that damage your blood vessels and heart tissues. Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease. But the good news is that quitting can significantly reduce your risk.

Weight challenges and lack of physical activity

Finally, carrying excess weight or leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of heart disease. Therefore, regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight are crucial for cardiovascular health.

The importance of heart health assessments

Recognizing your risk factors for heart disease is the first step to understanding your heart health. That said, routine heart assessments provide a more comprehensive picture.

Regular check-ups allow us to identify potential issues early on. For example, if you have high blood pressure, we can start appropriate treatment to manage your condition before it causes complications.

Prevention is a cornerstone of heart health, and routine assessments empower you to take charge of your well-being. These assessments often include measurements like blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. They can also involve more advanced tests like electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG) to assess your heart's electrical activity.

We work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your needs and fits your lifestyle. These involve eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress levels.

Make this February the time to show your heart some love. Learn more about lowering your risk of heart disease with an appointment at AssociatesMD. Call one of our offices in Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Weston, Margate, Dania Beach, and Ft. Lauderdale, FL, or request an appointment online now.