Heart disease is a leading killer disease among both men and women. However, most cases are preventable. Heart disease risk factors refer to the habits or conditions that make a person more susceptible to develop the condition.
These can also increase the risk of an existing condition getting worse. Some risk factors such as family history of heart disease and age cannot be changed, but there are some steps that you can take to lower your other risk factors of the disease.
Here are some controllable factors that have an effect on your risk for contracting stroke and heart diseases.
• High blood pressure
• High blood cholesterol
• Sedentary lifestyle
It is important that you know about your risk of heart attack and have a plan to prevent it in future.
To calculate your risk of heart disease, you need the following information-
• Your age – As you age, your risks of getting a heart disease increase. For men it is over the age of 45 years and for women, it is above the age of 55 years.
• Blood pressure levels – Your blood pressure should be around 140/90. If you are under medication to control blood pressure, you still run a risk of contracting heart disease.
• High cholesterol levels – It is important that you are aware of the total cholesterol levels including the “bad” (LDL) and “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels in your blood. If the LDL is very high or HDL is very low, you face a risk of getting a heart ailment. Go for a blood test to know your cholesterol levels.
• Chronic diseases – Some health conditions including diabetes is closely related to the risk of heart disease.
• Family history – If a close male family member has had a heart disease before the age of 55 or a close female relative has had heart disease before the age of 65 years, you are at a risk of getting the same.
• Smoking – Smoking increases your heart disease risk by a great margin. The risk is greater if you started smoking when young or if you smoke heavily or if you are a woman. Passive smoking is also one of the causes of cardiovascular disease. Avoiding smoking can decrease your heart disease rate significantly no matter how long you have been smoking.
• Hypertension – Hypertension is one of the biggest risk factors for stroke. It is also one of the chief causes for heart attacks. It is preventable and can be successfully treated if you follow the right treatment plan.
• Physical inactivity – Not exercising increases your heart disease risk by almost 50%. Obesity is a major contributor for heart disease and also increases your chances of developing diabetes, which again is a risk factor for cardiovascular ailments.
Calculating your risk of a heart attack or any other cardiovascular disease can be quite complex. Following a healthy lifestyle can help you and your children control several of the risk factors of the condition. As most lifestyle habits start during childhood, parents should encourage children to go for healthy choices. Both you and your children can avoid the risk of heart ailments if you maintain a healthy weight, engage in physical exercises, avoid smoking and follow a healthy diet.
Apart from lifestyle changes, your doctor may also recommend some treatments to bring the heart disease risk factors under control. He or she can help you know if you have any risk factors. He or she can also help you to make a plan to lower the risk of any heart disease.