Heart attack risk factors

Heart attack risk factors are the habits and conditions that increase the risk of suffering a heart attack or other heart diseases. Existing heart diseases may also worsen with the presence of these risk factors. There are several such known risk factors some of which can be controlled and some cannot. Some of the controllable heart attack risk factors are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, stress and unhealthy diet. The risk factors that are uncontrollable are gender, family history and age. The risk of having a heart attack increases as the number and severity of these factors increases. Also, some of the factors are more dangerous than others such as diabetes and smoking.

Consumption of alcohol and smoking are two important controllable heart attack risk factors. Smoking almost doubles the risk of developing heart diseases. Cigars and pipes increase chances of heart attack but not to the extent that cigarettes do. Passive smoking is also a major heart attack risk factor, though not as great as active smoking. Consumption of excessive alcohol could increase the chances of stroke, cause high blood pressure and eventually heart attack. It could also increase cholesterol levels by raising the amount of triglycerides in the body. Alcohol is also known to create irregular beating of the heart. It can indirectly contribute to heart failure by causing obesity.

Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are interlinked heart attack risk factors. Long periods of inactivity play a very important role in increasing the risk of heart attacks. Physical activity is vital to maintain normal levels of cholesterol and avoid complications such as obesity and diabetes. While vigorous exercise is considered more beneficial for the heart, a moderate intensity workout can also help greatly provided it is practiced regularly on a long term basis. Body fat especially that stored around the region of the waist is a major heart attack risk factor. Obesity can work on its own in causing heart complications even in the absence of other risk factors. This is because excessive body weight puts a strain on the heart making it work harder to pump more blood. Obese people are also at a greater risk of diabetes. Excess body fat increases blood pressure, triglyceride levels and cholesterol. Any amount of weight loss, even as low as 10 pounds, can greatly help in lowering the risk of heart attack.

Ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol are very serious factors that increase the risk of heart disease. Keeping diabetes under control is of utmost importance, since high glucose levels in the blood considerably enhances the risk of suffering heart diseases. When the blood pressure is high, the workload of the heart is increased. This increases the risk of having a heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. High cholesterol is also equally dangerous. These factors when combined with others such as smoking, drinking and obesity, greatly increases the risk of heart attack by several times.

Apart from these, there are the uncontrollable heart attack factors of age, gender and heredity that are equally responsible for causing heart related issues in people. Approximately 83 percent of people dying of heart attack are found to be 65 years or above. As they grow older, women are more prone to dying of heart failure than men. Heart attack risk factors are more common with men and they tend to suffer heart-related complications at a much earlier age than women do. Heredity as well as race plays a major role in heart failures.

People with a history of heart disease running in the family become more susceptible, especially if they also experience any of the other heart attack risk factors. One or more of the other risk factors have usually been found in people with a family history of heart related problems. Race can also be a contributing factor to heart attack risk. African Americans, American Indians, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans and native Hawaiians are found to have a higher risk of heart disease. With uncontrollable factors such as these, it becomes even more vital to control the other heart attack risk factors in order to live a healthy long life.

Last updated on May 14th, 2010 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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