How Lifestyle Contributes to Heart Disease and How to Address It

By |Published On: October 14th, 2020|

Despite the fact that lifestyle choices are one of the few things we can control, unhealthy lifestyle choices remain one of the main factors that can increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. It was found that nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to unhealthy lifestyle choices. Since heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, anything that we can do to live a healthy lifestyle and combat heart disease is important to understand. How does lifestyle contribute to heart disease, and why are so many people at risk of disease because of their lifestyle choices?

What is a healthy lifestyle?

A healthy lifestyle involves a range of health behaviors. One popular acronym, ACDES, outlines healthy lifestyle changes that impact heart disease. The acronym stands for:

According to the American Heart Association, following these simple steps can reduce all of the modifiable risk factors for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. So why are so many people still impacted by heart disease due to their lifestyle choices?

  • Alcohol – avoiding alcohol in excess

  • Blood pressure – following a healthy dietary pattern that lowers blood pressure

  • Cholesterol – keeping cholesterol down to reduce the risk of heart disease and death

  • Diabetes – managing risk of diabetes through exercise and diet, because diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease

  • Exercise – living an active life rather than being sedentary

  • Smoking – the more you smoke, the higher the risk of disease and death

lifestyle contributes to heart disease

Why lifestyle changes are hard to maintain

Even though the path to a healthy heart is marked clearly in front of us, most people are not able to simply make the choice to change their lifestyle. Making healthy lifestyle changes is easier said than done. Even with large motivating factors (like a healthy heart), it can be difficult to change habits because of lack of support, motivation, or resources. Furthermore, misconceptions, bad choices, and misinformation can contribute negatively to a person’s ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

For example, past studies show that 56% of Americans surveyed were trying to lose weight, yet 9 out of 10 did now know how many calories they should be consuming each day in order to accomplish that goal.

Behaviorally based motivation can impact cardiac outcomes

Healthcare providers can help patients make the right lifestyle choices that impact their heart health by implementing a behaviorally based program. By becoming a partner and supporter in a person’s day-to-day life, patients will have access to the education and support needed to make the right lifestyle decisions.

For instance, patients at The Heart House receive Care Messages™ directly to their mobile device that offer support for their unique conditions. Some examples of the types of messages patients receive include:

  • Education and explanation about conditions

  • Reminders of the important of taking medication

  • Information about increasing physical activity and ways to get started

  • Tips for adjusting diet

  • Actionable ways to reduce stress and resources to use when doing so

By engaging patients in their lived environment, the “point of care” is extended into their homes. This precision-focused condition management model gives patients consistent support throughout their daily life and addresses physical conditions, behavioral issues, and lifestyle factors.


Download our white paper created in collaboration with The Heart House, detailing their Cardiac Concierge Care Program. Learn how the program measured a 98% medication adherence rate (versus 40-50% for the national average) and a 43% decrease in tobacco use following program enrollment.

Download our Cardiac White Paper

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