Risk Factors which are out of your control include:
- Age: Risk of heart disease tends to increase with age
- Genetics: Having a family history of heart disease
- Gender: Men are at a higher risk of heart disease compared to women before menopause
Risk Factors which are under your control include:
- Hypertension: Having high blood pressure (hypertension) over a long period of time will cause the heart to work harder in order to pump blood throughout the body. Furthermore, hypertension causes cardiac muscles to thicken, narrowing and blockage of blood vessels, and an enlarged heart all of which may contribute to heart failure.
- Smoking: Smokers are 2-4 times more likely to have heart disease compared to non-smokers. This is because chemicals in cigarettes damage endothelial cells and causes blockage of blood vessels eventually leading to a heart attack.
- Blood Cholesterol: Individuals with high blood cholesterol levels are at higher risk of heart disease. Cholesterol causes blood vessels to thicken and narrow. Once they become completely blocked a heart attack may occur.
- Diabetes: Increases the risk of coronary artery disease and heart disease and causes blood vessels throughout the body to deteriorate.
- Lack of Exercise: Lack of physical activity increases the risk of coronary artery disease and heart disease. Getting regular exercise will help to reduce risk and control other risk factors such as hypertension, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.
- Obesity: Individuals with a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or above are at risk of coronary artery disease and heart disease. This is calculated by weight (measured in kilograms) divided by height raised to power of two. However, depending on other risk factors a body mass index of 25 kg/m2 may also indicate risk of heart disease.