Risk factors for heart disease are conditions or habits that make an individual more likely to develop cardiac disease, and can also increase the chances that an existing disease will worsen. However, we can help you identify risk factors in your own life, helping you to recognize habits that you may need to change for heart disease prevention. While there are some risk factors that cannot be changed, there are many that can be addressed with healthy eating, exercise, and by alleviating stress. Emory Decatur Hospital's Heart and Vascular Institute provides a variety of Atlanta-based heart services to help you identify risk factors, diagnose and treat future problems. Click here to watch Dr. Abhay Trivedi explain more about cardiac disease and who is at risk.
Important risk factors for heart disease include:
Heart disease prevention relies upon identifying risk factors for heart disease, allowing you to change unhealthy habits. However, there are some risk factors that cannot be changed, including age, family history and gender. Overall, men have a higher risk of developing heart disease than women. For women, age becomes a risk factor at 55, and at age 65, women are just as likely to have a heart attack as men. A family history of early heart disease is another risk factor that can't be changed. If your parent or sibling has had a heart attack, you are more likely to have heart disease yourself.
While certain risk factors for heart disease cannot be changed, you do have control over many others. Heart disease prevention can begin at any age, and can be practiced by individuals with any health status, as it does not have to be complicated. Protecting your heart can be as simple as taking a brisk walk, eating healthy meals, or getting the support you need to maintain a healthy weight.
You can make the changes gradually, one at a time; however, even if you only have very few risk factors for heart disease, you are still at risk. Each risk factor greatly increases your chance of developing heart disease, and having more than one risk factor is especially serious, because risk factors tend to "gang up" and worsen the effects of each other. You should identify your own risk factors for heart disease now to begin your own heart disease prevention.
Take a heart risk assessment today to analyze your risk factors for heart disease, or contact us to learn more about heart disease prevention.