Risk Factors for coronary heart disease
The more risk factors you have the greater your chance of developing heart
disease or having a heart attack or stroke. Extensive studies have identified
several factors that increase your risk. Some of them can be changed,
treated or modified, and some cannot. Controlling these risk factors is
the best way to a healthy heart.
Major Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease that Cannot be Changed
Increasing Age: About four out of five people who die of coronary heart
disease are age 65 or older. At older ages, women who have heart attacks
are twice as likely as men are to die from them within a few weeks.
Male Gender: Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women do, they have attacks
earlier in life.
Heredity: Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop it themselves.
African Americans have more severe hypertension than whites and their
risk of heart disease is greater.
Major Risk Factors For Coronary Heart Disease that Can Be Treated.
You can change, treat or modify these factors to lower your risk by focusing
on your lifestyle habits or, if needed, taking medicine.
Tobacco Smoke: Smokers' risk of heart attack is more than twice that of non-smokers.
Cigarette smoking is the biggest risk factor for sudden cardiac death:
Smokers have two to four times the risk of non-smokers. Smokers who have
a heart attack are more likely to die and die suddenly than are non-smokers.
High Blood Cholesterol Levels: The risk of coronary heart disease and stroke rises as blood cholesterol
levels increase. When other risk factors (such as high blood pressure
and tobacco smoke) are present, this risk increases even more. Age, gender,
heredity and diet also affect a person's cholesterol level.
High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure increases the heart's workload. It also increases
the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart
failure. When high blood pressure exists with obesity, smoking, high blood
cholesterol levels or diabetes, the risk of heart attack or stroke increases.
Physical Inactivity: Lack of physical activity is a risk factor for heart disease. Regular,
moderate-to-vigorous exercise plays a significant role in preventing heart
and blood vessel disease. Even moderate intensity physical activities
are beneficial if done regularly. More vigorous activities are associated
with more benefits. Exercise can help control blood cholesterol, diabetes
and obesity and help to lower blood pressure.
Obesity and Overweight: People who have excess body fat are more likely to develop heart disease
and stroke even if they have no other risk factors. Obesity is unhealthy
because excess weight increases the strain on the heart. It's directly
linked with coronary heart disease because it influences blood pressure,
blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and makes diabetes more likely
to develop. If you can lose as little as 10 to 20 pounds, you can lower
your heart disease risk.
Diabetes Mellitus: Diabetes seriously increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Even when glucose levels are under control, diabetes seriously increases
the risk of heart disease and stroke. Two-thirds of people with diabetes
die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease. If you have diabetes,
it is critical you monitor and control other risk factors.
Courtesy of the American Heart Association.