Understanding Your Heart Disease Risk

Heart disease stands as the undisputed leading cause of death globally, claiming millions of lives each year. While the statistics can be daunting, understanding the web of risk factors associated with heart disease is key to prevention and early intervention.

In this brief article brought to you by Cardiovascular Specialists of York, we will explore the various risk factors for heart disease and explore how addressing these factors can significantly impact cardiovascular health. If you’d rather consult with a licensed heart doctor, then call Cardiovascular Specialists of York to schedule a convenient appointment today.

Age and Gender

Age is a major risk factor for heart disease, with the risk increasing significantly after age 65. However, it's important to note that heart disease can affect individuals of all ages, including younger adults and even children in rare cases.

Gender also plays a role, with men generally at a higher risk of heart disease compared to premenopausal women. However, postmenopausal women's risk increases and eventually equals that of men.

Family History and Genetics

A family history of heart disease can significantly elevate an individual's risk, especially if a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) developed heart disease at an early age (before 55 for men, before 65 for women). Genetic factors can also contribute to heart disease risk by influencing cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and other cardiovascular parameters.

High Blood Pressure, or Hypertension

Elevated blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Over time, high blood pressure can damage the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) and increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications.

High Cholesterol Levels

High levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as "bad" cholesterol, and low levels of HDL cholesterol, or "good" cholesterol, are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. LDL cholesterol contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries, while HDL cholesterol helps remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream.

Smoking and Tobacco Use

Smoking and tobacco use are significant risk factors for heart disease. Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that can damage blood vessels, promote atherosclerosis, raise blood pressure, and increase the risk of blood clots, all of which contribute to heart disease development.

Diabetes and Insulin Resistance

Individuals with diabetes, especially uncontrolled diabetes, are at a higher risk of heart disease. Insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease, because it can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, inflammation, and metabolic abnormalities.

Sedentary Lifestyle or Lack of Physical Activity

Lack of regular physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. Physical inactivity contributes to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, and other risk factors for heart disease.

Unhealthy Diet

A diet high in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars can lead to elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, obesity, and insulin resistance, all of which increase cardiovascular risk.

Stress and Mental Health

Chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues can elevate blood pressure, increase inflammation, and contribute to unhealthy coping behaviors such as overeating, smoking, or excessive alcohol consumption, all of which can harm the heart.

Consult with a Cardiologist

If you are concerned about your risk of heart disease, then consider visiting a licensed cardiologist. Residents in the area are welcomed to call Cardiovascular Specialists of York to schedule a convenient appointment or arrange a walk-in for as soon as possible.


What Our Patients Say

Client Testimonals


Sylvia Savoie

Hanover, PA

My mom was seen by Dr. Gilbert. She was treated like a queen. Treated her with respect and dignity and took his time even going through writing the information down so she would have the paper. I can’t say enough and the staff at the Cardiovascular Specialist of York clinic was great and friendly.

Read More

Joann Bernard

York, PA

Dr. Gilbert provided excellent service. Both personable and professional. Went above and beyond to provide detailed explanations that I could readily understand. I've never felt more comfortable and better served. If you need a cardiologist in town, I strongly recommend seeing Dr. Gilbert.

Read More

Karen Canzoneri

Pennville, PA

Excellent experience. Dr. Gilbert gave me a wealth of information about taking good care of myself.  I went into this appointment a little worried but came out relieved after his clear explanation and valuable health tips. If you are looking for the best cardiologist in town look no further than Cardiovascular Specialists of York.

Read More