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10 Factors That Put You at Risk For a Heart Attack

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A heart attack or known as myocardial infarction, occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. This is most often caused by a build-up of cholesterol, fat and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart or coronary arteries. The interrupted blood flow can damage part of the heart muscle.

A heart attack can be fatal but treatment has improved over the years. It is important to call emergency medical help if you think you might be having a heart attack.

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Below are the Reasons You May Be At Risk For A Heart Attack:

1. Age

Men whose age are from 45 or older and women age 55 or older are more at risk to have a heart attack compared to younger men and women. More than 83% of individuals who die from coronary heart disease are 65 or older.

2. Diabetes

Insulin, a hormone that is secreted by your pancreas, allows your body to use glucose, which is a form of sugar. Having diabetes or not producing enough insulin and not responding to insulin properly, may cause your body’s blood sugar levels to rise. Diabetes, most especially if uncontrolled, increases your risk of a heart attack.

3. Family History

If your parents, siblings, parents and grandparents had an early heart attack, by age 55 for male relatives and age 65 for female relatives, you may be at higher risk.

4. Handling Stress

Poorly controlled anger and stress can lead to stroke and heart attack. Learn to manage stress by managing your time efficiently, practicing relaxation techniques and setting realistic goals. Also massage and yoga have been found to be effective in reducing stress.

5. High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is one of the most common heart disease risk factor. A heart healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80.

Over time, high blood pressure can damage arteries by accelerating atherosclerosis. High blood pressure that occurs with smoking, obesity, high cholesterol or diabetes may increase your risk factor for heart attack.

You can positively affect your blood pressure through proper diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.

6. High Cholesterol

Your risk of heart disease increases when the ratio of total cholesterol to good cholesterol is greater than 5 to 1. Optimal levels are total cholesterol with less than 200 mg/dL and with good cholesterol greater than 60 mg/dL.

Choosing a healthy diet, proper exercise and medication can help modify your cholesterol levels.

7. High Fat Diet

A diet that is high in saturated fat may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the WFH or World Heart Federation, it is estimated to cause about 11% of strokes and 31% of coronary heart disease worldwide.

8. Inactive Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of stroke and heart attack by 50%. To reduce your risk, increase your physical activity level so you are getting at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.

You can spread it out over at least 3 days. Remember to consult with your doctor before starting any new fitness program.

9. Obesity

Individuals who have excess body fat, most especially at the waist are more at risk for stroke and heart disease, even if they have no other risk factors.

Excess weight can put a significant strain on your heart and may worsen other potential risks factors. To avoid this, eat a heart healthy diet that is refined sugars, saturated fat, trans fat and low in sodium.

10. Smoking

Smoking is the most preventable risk factor for heart disease. An individual’s risk of heart attack and heart disease greatly increases with cigarette smoking. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease significantly, no matter how long you have smoked.

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