Heart Disease Risk Factors

Are you at risk for heart disease? Cardiovascular disorders are a leading cause of death and disability for men and women of middle-age and older. Often, diseases of the heart and blood vessels have little or no symptoms and require vigilant screening to assure prompt treatment. It is important to know your risk factors.

Heart disease risk factors compiled by the American Heart Association include:

�High cholesterol levels, specifically LDL cholesterol. These can lead to the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Plaque deposits can cause the formation of clots which can break off and lead to heart attack or stroke. Have you had your cholesterol levels checked lately?

�High blood pressure (also known as hypertension). This can cause damage of the heart and arteries resulting in heart attack, stroke or congestive heart failure.

�Smoking (including exposure to the cigarette smoke of others). Tobacco smoke exposure leads to increased risk of heart attack, stroke and congestive heart failure.

�Physical inactivity. Any amount of physical activity less than the recommended 30 minutes a day on most or all days can lead to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

�Obesity. Too much body fat, especially around the waist, leads to increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and heart disease.

�Diabetes. Diabetic patients have a 2-4 time risk of heart disease than non-diabetic patients.

�Increasing age. The older you are, the greater your risk of cardiovascular disease.

�Gender. Men are at greater risk of heart attack than women and tend to have heart attacks at a younger age.

�Family history. If anyone in your family has had a heart attack, you are more likely to have a heart attack.

�Previous history of heart attack or stroke. You are more likely to experience stroke and heart attack if you have already had one of these events.

�Substance abuse. Alcohol, cocaine and illegal intravenous drugs can increase the risk factors leading to heart disease.

Knowing your risk factors is an important step in taking control of your health. Arrange for a health screen today!

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