When you think of an energetic college athlete, the last thing you’d think she’d have to worry about is heart disease. But that’s exactly what 19-year-old Regan Judd was faced with her junior year. Turns out, her youth was no match for risk factors like her heart murmur and a family history of heart disease.
Regan’s story is unfortunate proof that heart disease does not spare the young. It does not discriminate based on age, and in combination with lifestyle, overall health and whether or not it runs in your family, these factors can work together to raise your risk. While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent. Read on to learn more about each of the risk factors, how to assess each and the keys to prevention so you can cut your risk and keep heart disease out of your life – for good.