Risk Fac­tors for Coronary Artery Disease

Wellness Update - - Meet Our Doctors -

Ma­jor risk fac­tors sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease the chance of de­vel­op­ing coronary artery disease. Some risk fac­tors can be changed and con­trolled, while oth­ers can’t. Those that can­not be changed are:

Peo­ple whose par­ents have coronary artery disease are more likely to de­velop it. African Amer­i­cans also are at in­creased risk be­cause they ex­pe­ri­ence a higher rate of se­vere hy­per­ten­sion than whites.

Men are more likely to have heart at­tacks than women and to have them at a younger age. Over age 60, how­ever, women have coronary artery disease at a rate equal to that of men.

Men who are 45 years of age and older and women who are 55 years of age and older are more likely to have coronary artery disease. Oc­ca­sion­ally, coronary disease may strike a per­son in the 30s. Older peo­ple (those over 65) are more likely to die of a heart at­tack. Older women are twice as likely as older men to die within a few weeks of a heart at­tack.

African Amer­i­cans are at higher risk for early death and have higher mor­tal­ity rates from car­dio­vas­cu­lar prob­lems in gen­eral. AfricanAmer­i­can women with coronary artery disease are more likely to have a heart at­tack than Cau­casian women.

• Hered­ity—

• Sex—

• Age—

• Eth­nic­ity weighs heav­ily in your like­li­hood of de­vel­op­ing coronary artery disease.

Ma­jor risk fac­tors that can be changed are:

Smok­ing in­creases both the chance of de­vel­op­ing coronary artery disease and the chance of dy­ing from it. Smok­ers are two to four times more likely than are non-smok­ers to die of sud­den heart at­tack. They are more than twice as likely as non-smok­ers to have a heart at­tack. They also are more likely to die within an hour of a heart at­tack. Sec­ond hand smoke also may in­crease risk.

Di­etary sources of choles­terol are meat, eggs, and other an­i­mal prod­ucts. The body also pro­duces it. Age, sex, hered­ity, and diet af­fect one's blood choles­terol. To­tal blood choles­terol is con­sid­ered high at lev­els above 240 mg/dL and bor­der­line at 200-239 mg/dL. High-risk lev­els of low-den­sity lipopro­tein (LDL choles­terol) be­gin at 130-159 mg/dL, de­pend­ing on other risk fac­tors. Risk of de­vel­op­ing coronary artery disease in­creases steadily as blood choles­terol lev­els in­crease above 160 mg/dL. When a per­son has other risk fac­tors, the risk mul­ti­plies.

High blood pres­sure makes the heart work harder and weak­ens it over time. It in­creases the risk of heart at­tack, stroke, kid­ney fail­ure, and con­ges­tive heart fail­ure. A blood pres­sure of 140 over 90 or above is con­sid­ered high. As the num­bers rise, high blood pres­sure goes from Stage 1 (mild) to Stage 4 (very se­vere). In com­bi­na­tion with obe­sity, smok­ing, high choles­terol, or di­a­betes, high blood pres­sure raises the risk of heart at­tack or stroke sev­eral times.

Lack of ex­er­cise in­creases the risk of coronary artery disease. Even mod­est phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, like walking, is ben­e­fi­cial if done reg­u­larly.

The risk of de­vel­op­ing coronary artery disease is se­ri­ously in­creased for di­a­bet­ics. More than 80% of di­a­bet­ics die of some type of heart or blood ves­sel disease.

• Smok­ing—

• High choles­terol—

• High blood pres­sure—

• Lack of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity—

• Di­a­betes mel­li­tus—

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