Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

F# eXchange 2016
Source: Flickr

Heart disease has been known to be the number one killer for both men and women in the U.S. It is important to understand better what makes heart disease so common and how to reduce the chances of having a heart disease. Knowing the risk factors for heart disease could reduce the chances of a heart attack. Some heart disease in people can be silent with no symptoms at all and they may not be aware of the heart disease until they have a heart attack.

A risk factor is a factor that makes a person more likely to have a disease, illness, or medical problem. Risk factors for heart disease can be categorized into two: modifiable or those that can be made better; and the genetics or family history which cannot be changed.

The genetics risk factors for heart disease are as follows:

Heredity
Heredity is one of the risk factors for heart disease that is not changeable. The chances of having a heart disease is greater for those who have close family members or relatives that has suffered from a heart disease, especially sisters, brothers, or parents. The chances increase considerably if more than one close relative has had heart disease.

Sex
Men have greater chances of having heart disease than women which are partially due to the fact that men carry their body fat closer to their heart. For women, the risk of a heart disease becomes greater after menopause due to the decrease in estrogen levels.

Age
People over the age of 65 have greater chances of having a heart attack.

The modifiable risk factors for heart disease are as follows:

Smoking
This risk factor for heart disease is changeable as smoking cigarette can be put to a stop. People smoking cigarettes are twice likely to have a heart attack and are the greatest risk factor for fatal heart attacks. People who smoke have a much stickier blood cholesterol which makes it easier for these cholesterols to stick to the walls of the arteries and thus increases blood pressure.

High Blood Cholesterol
As the cholesterol levels in your body rises, so does the blood pressure and so diet is crucial in the maintenance of cholesterol levels. The intake of good cholesterol HDL should be maintained, and the intake of bad cholesterol LDL should be limited.
High Blood pressure
Termed as the ‘silent’ killer, this risk factor for heart disease gives no early warning signs. It is always wise to check for ones blood pressure as one gets older especially if the person is inactive, smokes, and has a poor diet.

Physical Inactivity
People who are physically inactive are more susceptible to heart disease. A person can reduce the risk of heart attack through simple physical activities such as walking 20 minutes per day.

Other contributing risk factors for heart disease are diabetes, obesity, and individual response to stress. Having a healthy diet and good physical activity can help reduce some of these risk factors for heart disease and a healthy heart.