Risk Factors For Heart Attacks

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Risk Factors For Heart Attacks

The main cause of heart attacks is coronary heart disease, also referred to as coronary artery disease. A heart attack is also called a myocardial infraction. The risk factors for heart attacks are both controllable and uncontrollable. However, most of the risk factors can be controlled.

The uncontrollable risk factors for heart attacks include:

Age – Women over the age of 55 and men over the age of 45 have a higher risk of suffering heart attacks than younger people. Women who have hit menopause or who have had their ovaries surgically removed are also at a higher risk than women who still have their ovaries or who have not reached menopause.

Race – Research has shown that people of African descent, Mexican descent and American Indian descent are at a higher risk than Caucasians.

Family history of heart disease – If close family members have had heart attacks, you are at a higher risk too. This has something to do with the fact that you may have a genetic predisposition to high levels of cholesterol of a predisposition to high blood pressure.

Sex – Men are at a higher risk of heart attacks than women.

There is really nothing that can be done about the uncontrollable risk factors for heart attacks. However, just because you have some risk factors does not mean you will necessarily suffer a heart attack.

The controllable risk factors for heart attacks include:

Obesity – A person is considered to be obese if their body mass index is above 30 or they weight more than 20% above their ideal weight. Obesity is one of the major risk factors for heart attacks because it is typically linked to high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

Diabetes – This disease is characterized by metabolic abnormalities and raised glucose levels that increase the risk of heart attacks. This is because these two factors encourage the development of atherosclerosis (build up of macrophage in the arteries) which in turn increases the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks.

High blood pressure – This causes the heart to work harder, become stiffer and increase the possibility of atherosclerosis. High blood pressure is also one of the major risk factors for heart attacks.

High blood cholesterol levels – High levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein), also referred to as bad cholesterol, is deposited in the arteries causing them to narrow, raising the risk of heart attack. High levels of LDL are caused by having a diet high in saturated fats.

Smoking – Smoking damages artery walls increasing the risk of heart attack.

The controllable risk factors for heart attacks can be reduced by adopting a healthy lifestyle, eating right and exercising regularly.

The higher the number of risk factors for heart attacks you have, the greater the chance that you will have a heart attack. However, a healthy lifestyle, healthy eating habits and a serious exercise program can substantially lower the risks in all cases.