Medical professionals agree that having diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, and this is no different for children and youth than it is for adults. With an increasing number of people under 40 suffering massive heart attacks and debilitating strokes, it’s important for people to know the risks they may be facing. The American Diabetes Association is determined to help get that information out to everyone across the country, from Alabama to Oregon. By teaming up with Donate a Car they have made it easy for you to donate your car for helping fund research, education, and patient outreach.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. It affects men and women of all ethnicities, as well as old and young alike. But no matter what age or gender, the risk factors for heart disease remain the same.
- Obesity-Being overweight drastically increases the strain put upon the heart to function properly.
- High Blood Pressure- high blood pressure in childhood generally spills over into adulthood and increases the risk of heart disease.
- Family History of Cardiovascular Disease- Children whose parents or grandparents have cardiovascular disease are at least twice as likely to develop heart disease.
- Cigarette Smoke- Exposure to cigarette smoke, either second hand, or by smoking themselves, increases a child’s risk of heart disease.
- Depression or Bipolar Disorder- Recent evidence suggests that depressive disorders during the teenage years can increase the risk for early onset heart disease.
- Pre-existing Medical Problems- Diseases such as diabetes, Kawasaki disease, and cancer can increase the risk of heart disease also.
The good news is that heart disease can be impacted by wise lifestyle choices. Here are things that can make a difference in a young person’s chance of preventing or minimizing the risk of heart disease.
- Diet- The food you eat makes a difference in the health of your body. A diet low in saturated fats, high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Working with a dietician is the best way to determine a patient’s specific needs.
- Exercise- 30 to 60 minutes of exercise for between 4 to 6 days a week is the recommended amount for children to maintain a healthy heart. If a young person isn’t used to that amount of exercise they should begin with a shorter time and gradually increase.
- Medications- If you or your child have been diagnosed with heart disease it’s essential to take the medication prescribed by your doctor to ensure that your heart functions properly.
For youth today, diet can absolutely make either a positive or negative impact on their heart health.