Certain medical conditions (eg, diabetes), disorders, personal habits (eg, smoking), and drugs or chemicals are known to increase the risk of coronary heart disease, particularly a heart attack. Such factors that lay the groundwork for heart problems are called coronary risk factors. To prevent heart attack, you should be fully aware of various coronary risk factors. They include high blood pressure, abnormal blood cholesterol levels, and smoking; these factors must be modified or even eliminated.
Some risk factors, such as age and male gender, are beyond our control, but we can modify many other factors and even eliminate them altogether. Family history of a heart attack is a very strong risk factor, but it can be limited to a certain degree. For instance, obesity, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, and cigarette smoking frequently run in the same family, but certain life styles and eating habits often influence these factors and can influence a family history of heart attack. Many individuals have been shown to have multiple risk factors. Typically, obese people have a tendency to have high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes, and all that may be worsened by a sedentary life style.
Coronary risk factors can be summarized as major and minor. Major risk factors include:
* Genetic factors (eg, a family history of premature coronary artery disease).
* Age and gender (eg, men who are over 45 years of age, and women who are over 55 years of age).
Coronary heart disease risk factors also include:
* High blood pressure
* Elevated blood lipods
* Diabetes Mellitus
* Cigarette smoking
* A sedentary lifestyle
* Emotional stress
Emotional stress is a major risk factor that you might consider less important because it is not evident as a physical process. However, such stress often increases blood pressure, and it may cause overeating or smoking from nervous tension. Anger also does not always exhibit physical signs or effects. Yet angry young men are prone to premature coronary heart disease, particularly a heart attack.
One type of minor risk factor is the excessive use of alcohol. Excessive alcohol drinking can raise blood pressure and triglyceride blood levels, and overuse of alcohol often triggers the onset of various abnormal heart rhythms. Neverheless, some medical reports state that consumption of a moderate amount of alcohol is said to be protection against heart attack. Another well known fact is that drinking large amounts of alcohol often produces heart muscle damage.
Another minor risk factor is type A personality. The term type A personality describes a person who has an aggressive, ambitious, and competitive character. Such people seem to have heart attacks more often, but this theory is somewhat controversial.
Homocysteine is a further minor risk factor. Abnormally high blood levels of amino acid Homocysteine are considered to create an increased risk for coronary heart disease and stroke. Homocysteine may harm the lining of the arteries and contribute to blood clotting. Excessive Homocysteine levels are reported to occur with the diffiency of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, so it may be beneficial to ensure that you get sufficient amounts of these vitamins to prevent high homocysteine levels.
Other vitamins may also be beneficial in prevention of heart attacks. Vitamin E seems to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, but its role is still controversial. Vitamin C may improve the function of the inner layer of the blood vessel called the endothelium, which can effect blood flow. High intake of beta carotene and other carotenoids from dark colored fruits and vegetables may also help t`o reduce the risk of heart attack.
Depression has adverse biological effects on the immune system, on blood clotting, on blood pressure, on the blood vessels, and on heart rhythms. This factor can even hurt a patients desire to comply with heart medicines. Somewhat related are seasonal variations: More deaths from heart disease occur in the winter months, and the fewest occur in the summertime. Short daylight hours in gloomy or rainy weather often cause emotional depression and therefore an increased risk for heart attack.