Skip to Content

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Vaccine Update. Learn More

Default Alt Text for the banner

Heart Disease: Lifestyle or Genetics? - Cardiology

It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. Dr. Richard Chazal, a cardiologist with Lee Health, says smoking, diet and exercise can help determine a patient’s risk for heart disease. “Tobacco smoking really has to be at the top, because first of all, it’s a major risk factor but the other is it’s something that you can conceivably turn off and once you do the risk begins to go down very, very rapidly.”The second component is diet. Food can have a big impact on our heart health. “Something that’s generally healthy and reasonable like a Mediterranean type diet that incorporates more fruits, and nuts, and vegetables into the diet and less heavy saturated fat and less prepared foods,” said Dr. Chazal.Stress and lack of activity can also harm your heart. Doctors say exercise not only improves a patient’s weight, it can also help reduce stress. “In our culture we’ve gotten very accustomed to sitting a lot and not doing manual labor so getting regular exercise makes a big difference as well,” said Dr. Chazal.To determine a patient’s risk for developing heart disease, doctors also consider a patient’s age, gender, ethnic background, blood pressure and if they have diabetes. “Diabetes and obesity, and I’m lumping those together because we currently have an epidemic not just nationally but worldwide of people that have started to put on weight and have developed type two diabetes, often related to that weight gain,” said Dr. Chazal.Based on these lifestyle choices and family history, doctors can determine the statistical probability of a heart attack within a ten year window. “A lot of prevention can be done by lifestyle choices but at the very least one can postpone the onset of clinical heart disease.Making it important to be aware of your family history and make healthy lifestyle choices.View More Health Matters video segments at Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.Visit