As the widely believed cliché goes — Knowledge is Power, and as far as clichés go, this one is as true as it can be. While this phrase is often used for knowledge of worldly information, it is especially true for information regarding medical issues that can help your health.
Our bodies are supposed to be our temples that we only get one of. So considering knowledge as power, one should equip themselves with the information that enabled them to take care of their body as a proactive measure. Not just that, but this also allows people to recognize any signs of a possible health concern and seek medication and treatment early on.
Now when it comes to health risks, cardiac health is one of the greatest concerns for everyone. According to the American Heath Association, almost 2,300 people die of cardiovascular disease each day — averaging at 1 person every 38 seconds. Along with that, almost 92.1 million American adults live with some sort of cardiovascular disease.
If these statistics are multiplied, the global incidence ratio of cardiac problems is significantly high. Hence, these numbers make it even more important for every adult to be aware of whether they are at risk of cardiac disease.
Since heart attack is one of the most common incidences of irregular cardiac episodes, we have compiled some of the most common factors that may put you at risk for one. These risk factors are not motioned to scare you off but to help provide with information so you can prevent a heart attack.
Major Risk Factors
The following risk factors are those that can’t be controlled or changed since you are born with them, or they happen naturally. These include:
One of the main populations that suffer heart attacks and other cardiovascular disease are 65 or older. Even though all sexes in old age can suffer a heart attack, women over the age of 65 have a higher risk factor of fatality.
According to various studies, men are at a greater risk of heart attack than women. Even when women in their older age have an increased risk of death from cardiac disease, it’s not higher than the rate for men.
Family history, genes, and heredity contribute greatly to our own health. For instance, if you are a child of parents that had any type of heart disease, it makes it more likely that you might develop it too. Just as you can’t control your age, you can’t control your family history. So, it is important that you pay close attention to your health and manage controllable risk to avoid risking a heart attack.
Modifiable Risk Factors
Unlike major risk factors, modifiable risk factors are those that you can control or treat to decrease the chances of developing a heart condition. These include:
High levels of Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or bad cholesterol increases the risk of the person developing coronary heart disease. Whereas, high levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or good cholesterol is considered better for the body. These two types of cholesterol combined with the levels of Triglycerides in the body at a high level can lead to atherosclerosis. But cholesterol can be managed by diet, exercise, and the right medication.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure means that your heart has to exert more energy and pressure to pump your blood. This increases the heart’s workload, causing the cardiac muscles to harden and thicken. Stiff cardiac muscles cause the heart to malfunction and increase the chances of not just heart attack but stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney failure. Depending on your personal medical history, high blood pressure can be managed with a proper diet, exercise, and medication, if necessary.
Diabetes is one of the most serious risks for heart disease. In fact, even controlled levels of diabetes can increase the chances of heart disease. If you are a diabetic patient, you need to be more proactive about managing it stringently and make lifestyle changes that will help in doing so.
Excessive levels of body fat or obesity increases the chance of clogged arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Hence, it is important that you manage your weight and shed any extra pounds to maintain a healthy amount as per your physique.
Not being physically active has been linked as a risk for not just heart attack but various other health conditions. Being regularly physically active can help reduce weight, cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and blood glucose levels in your body.
Smoking and being exposed to smoke i.e. secondary smoking increases the chances of coronary heart disease and heart attack. There are various resources that help smokers help to quit smoking. These include gums, patches, coaching classes, support groups, and more.
Contributing Risk Factors
Lastly, other contributing factors for heart attack include:
Eating the wrong kinds of foods can increase the chances of causing other risk factors like obesity. Hence, eating a healthy diet rich with necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is vital to a healthy heart. Limit the amount of fatty and oily food and substitute them for vegetables, lean meats, fruits, nuts, and whole grains.
This will not be the first time you’ll hear that stress is the number one killer in the world. Although stress does not increase the risk for heart attack directly, it has been observed to trigger other behaviors that might. If you find yourself under too much stress, going to a therapist and learning the right way to manage it can help control how it impacts your body.
High Levels of Alcohol Consumption
Consuming too much alcohol not only impacts the liver but also increases the risk for heart attack, cardiomyopathy, obesity, cancer, stroke, and various other diseases. Also, it leads to alcoholism, depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse Alcoholism, 1 drink equals ½ fl. oz. (fluid ounces) of 80-proof spirits or 5 fl. oz (0.15 l) of wine or 12 fl. oz (0.35 l). of regular beer. Whether you are a social drinker or a regular one, you should limit your alcohol consumption to 1 or 2 drinks according to these standards.
Now that you are aware of the factors that might put you at risk for a heart attack or any other cardiovascular disease, you can be proactive about trying to avoid it.