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Risk factors for heart attack

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Heart attack is a word that everyone dreads. There are many factors that can lead to a heart attack. However, if you are able to identify the risk factors for heart attack and eliminate them from your life, then you can reduce your chances of suffering from this disease.

Heart attack or myocardial infarction is the damage caused to the heart muscle due to blockage in the coronary artery - the artery that supplies blood to the heart. Blood circulation in the coronary artery is severely reduced when the artery becomes narrow or clogged due to certain medical reasons; this subsequently leads to heart attack. We shall discuss the risk factors for heart attack in the following paragraphs.

Identify the risks

About 1.2 million hearts around the world are affected by heart attacks annually. A few of these risks for heart attack are controllable and a few are beyond your help.

High Cholesterol levels

If your LDL cholesterol levels are above normal, then it’s high time you start being cautious. Uncontrolled cholesterol and triglycerides gradually start piling up in your coronary arteries, thereby hindering normal blood circulation.

In worst cases, plaque (deposits of cholesterol, calcium, etc.) deposition clogs up the coronary artery completely. This disease is known as atherosclerosis. So, before this stage is reached, you must check your rising cholesterol levels to prevent heart attack.

Hypertension or high blood pressure

High blood pressure and cholesterol are closely linked. If your cholesterol is high, then hypertension is inevitable. Furthermore, your heart tends to work out more when blood flows under high pressure inside the coronary artery. The increased load on the heart can trigger a heart attack.

Lack of physical activity

Doctors say that physical inactivity increases your risk of having a heart attack by 50%. You tend to gain weight and your cholesterol levels are most likely to spike up due to lack of adequate body movement.

Unhealthy food habits

Overconsumption of saturated fats and cholesterol rich foods is in no way good for your heart. Always remember that you are simply pushing yourself to having a heart attack by eating too many burgers, French fries, oily foods, pizzas, pastries, chocolates, cookies, cheese, and butter. Take a break from these dangerous foods!


Obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol are associated are all associated with each other. These three factors together make up the major the risk of heart attack. Try to lose at least 10% of your body weight to boost the health of your heart.

High blood sugar or diabetes

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Diabetes patients are vulnerable to having heart attacks at an earlier age than those who don’t. If you cannot control your blood glucose then your overall health would get affected to a larger extent. If you are a diabetic and you tend to gain weight, your cholesterol levels will increase and you are more likely to develop coronary artery disease.

Stress, tension and anxiety

These three are the major contributing factors of hypertension. And quite obviously, if your blood pressure rises, you risk suffering from a heart attack.

Addiction to alcohol, smoking and illegal drugs

These agents of death lead to the development of plaque inside your arteries. Thus, if your coronary artery is blocked you can succumb to a heart attack.

Age, and Family History

Age and family history are the only two risk factors for heart attack that you don’t have a control over. Men above 45 and women above 55 should be cautious of their lifestyle and eating habits in order to avert the risk.

Furthermore, if your sibling, parents or grandparents have experienced heart attack, then there’s a major possibility of you experiencing the same.

These are few of the risk factors for heart attack. Eliminate these factors and live a healthy lifestyle. It will prove beneficial to for a healthy heart in the long run. Also, seek help from a doctor and get a routine health check-up done to improve your heart health.

Written by: Batul nafisa

Date last updated: March 06, 2015