Thursday, 19 April 2012

Am I at risk for heart disease?



High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. Risk factors are often classified into two categories: non-modifiable factors and modifiable factors or treatable.

Non-modifiable factors:
  •     age and sex (women over 55 and men over age 45 have a higher risk);
  •     ethnicity (people from Africa, South Asia and the descendants of First Nations have a higher risk);
  •     family history (including those family members have suffered a stroke or heart attack before age 60, suffer or have suffered from angina or are prone to hypertension or the hypercholesterolemia are at increased risk).
Factors modifiable or treatable:
  •     hypercholesterolemia;
  •     hypertension;
  •     elevated levels of hsCRP (C-reactive protein [CRP]: protein produced by the body in the presence of inflammation);
  •     a sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise);
  •     obesity (overweight);
  •     smoking;
  •     excessive consumption of alcohol (more than 2 drinks per day for men and more than one drink per day for women);
  •     stress;
  •     diabetes;
  •     metabolic syndrome (group of risk factors for heart disease that tend to occur together, they include: a large waist circumference, high triglycerides, low levels of HDL cholesterol and a blood pressure and a high blood sugar, so if you have a large waist circumference plus two (or more) of these risk factors, your doctor may diagnose metabolic syndrome).
Concerned about your risk of heart disease? You can calculate your risk here and ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

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