What Are My Chances of Getting Heart Disease?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the number one killer in the U.S. for both men and women.

What is heart disease? The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes it as “… a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. CHD is also called coronary artery disease.”

CHD results from plaque building up on the walls of your coronary arteries. You might know it as hardening of the arteries. The buildup causes the arteries to narrow and then blood flow to the heart can slow down or stop entirely.

A risk factor is anything that can increase your chance of getting it. There are two types of risk factors – Those you can change and those that you can’t change.

According to The U.S. National Library of Medicine:

The risk factors for heart disease that you CANNOT change are:
• Your age. The risk of heart disease increases with age.
• Your gender. Men have a higher risk of getting heart disease than women who are still getting their menstrual period. After menopause, the risk for women is closer to the risk for men.
• Your genes. If your parents or other close relatives had heart disease, you are at higher risk.
• Your race. African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans also have a higher risk for heart problems.

Risk factors over which you have some control include:
• Do not smoke or use tobacco.
• Get plenty of exercise, at least 30 minutes a day on at least 5 days a week (talk to your doctor first).
• Maintain a healthy weight. Men and women should aim for a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.
• Get checked and treated for depression.
• Women who are at high risk for heart disease should take omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
• If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than one drink per day for women, and no more than two drinks per day for men.

Must confess that it is great to see that once again proper diet and regular exercise cover a multitude of sins. As I have said over and over here on the blog: Eat less; move more; live longer.


1 Comment

Filed under aging, coronary heart disease

One response to “What Are My Chances of Getting Heart Disease?

  1. Just finished writing an article about type-2 (“adult onset”) diabetes. You can’t talk about type-2 without talking about obesity. It’s extraordinary to realize what has become “normal” in America when it is so obviously destroying people’s health, productivity, finances, and costing us $83 billion a year just in diabetes-related hospital costs (70% paid for by the taxpayers)!! We need “nutrition reform” and a revival of exactly what you talk about here: a cultural re-boot to support healthy food and exercise. They are literally primary prevention–so much better than trying to treat diabetes…or coronary artery disease…after you get it!!


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