Risk Factors and Heart Disease
Risk factors are an individual’s traits that increase their odds of developing heart disease. Some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as age and gender, but most, like smoking and diabetes, are things you can control. Heart disease damages blood vessels, which carry blood and oxygen throughout the body.
Any combination of two or more of these risk factors multiplies your chance of suffering from a heart attack or coronary heart disease. It is reasoned that by correcting existing risk factors, you may delay or prevent a heart attack.
Non-controllable risk factors include:
- Increasing age (over 45 years old)
- A family history of early heart disease (before age 55 in men, and before age 65 in women)
- Being male, or being female after menopause
Controllable risk factors are often related to lifestyle or personal habits. These include:
- High blood pressure (over 140/90 mmHg at rest) (click here to download a Blood Pressure Tracking Card)
- High blood cholesterol
- High-fat diet
- Excess weight
- Lack of exercise
You can control the outcome of your heart health by living a better lifestyle. Do not become discouraged by the number of risk factors you have. Make gradual changes to your lifestyle so you will not become frustrated and quit. The changes will be well worth it for your future heart health.