Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death each year, and the numbers are ever increasing. However, the situation does not have to be dire. Many of the risk factors of heart disease are controllable, making heart disease less likely to occur if you make changes to your habits and diet. Understanding the major risk factors can help you identify areas you can take control of.
Uncontrollable Risk Factors for Heart Disease
- Family history and genetics do play a role in your risk for heart disease. If any of your relatives have had heart disease, it makes your risk higher.
- Age is also an uncontrollable factor for heart disease. Approximately 40% of deaths due to heart disease or related complications is in those ages 60 and over.
- Ethnicity can have an impact on your risk level as well. Genetic differences and environmental factors play a role in your risk for developing heart disease.
- Gender does seem to also play a role in heart disease risk. In the oldest age group, men are more likely to suffer from heart disease than women.
Controllable Risk Factors for Heart Disease
- People who have diabetes are three times more likely to develop heart disease than those who do not have diabetes. It’s important to know your risks for diabetes as well and ensure that you are maintaining a lifestyle that does not promote the disease.
- High cholesterol is another controllable risk factor for heart disease that can be controlled through diet and exercise.
- Smoking is one of the most controllable risk factors for heart disease. Smokers are twice as likely to develop heart disease than non-smokers.
- Weight is also a highly controllable risk factor. People who are obese are six times more likely to develop heart disease.
- Additional controllable risk factors for heart disease include stress, excessive alcohol intake, and high blood pressure.
If you have any of the controllable risk factors for heart disease, especially if you also have uncontrollable factors, it’s important to create a plan with your healthcare provider for improving your situation and lessening your risk for developing heart disease.