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Six Heart Attack Risk Factors You Can Modify, Treat or Control

By Peter DiMaria

Home Care Tolland CT

Some major risk factors can be controlled and will reduce the risk of a heart attack significantly. Other factors, listed on the bottom of this page, cannot be modified. However, if you (or someone you care for) presents one of those, the more reason there is to control the factors that can be managed.

A dependable Home Care Agency will provide a Home Health Aide who will help your loved one to manage risks and avoid the serious consequences of a heart attack.

1)     Tobacco smoke

Major research established,  since the mid-1970’s, that smokers' risk of developing coronary heart disease is much higher than that of nonsmokers. Cigarette smoking is a powerful independent risk factor for sudden cardiac death in patients with coronary heart disease. Cigarette smoking also acts with other risk factors to greatly increase the risk for coronary heart disease. Second-hand smoke also increases the risk of heart disease for nonsmokers.

2)     High blood cholesterol

There is a strong correlation between a rise in blood cholesterol and an increase in the risk of coronary heart disease. When other risk factors (such as high blood pressure and tobacco smoke) are present, this risk increases even more.

A person's cholesterol level is also affected by age, sex, heredity, and diet. It can be lowered through dietary changes or the use of medication, depending on how prevalent it is.

Check your total cholesterol, which is determined by a combination of your low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (also known as "bad" cholesterol), your high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ("good" cholesterol), and your triglycerides levels. Talk to your doctor. If high cholesterol levels are present, he will be able to guide you through the steps needed to lower them.

3)     High blood pressure

When high blood pressure is present, the heart has to work harder to supply blood to the whole body. As a result, the heart muscle gets thicker and stiffens, causing the heart not to work properly. This condition increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure. When associated with other risks like obesity, smoking, high blood cholesterol levels or diabetes, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack or stroke even more.

4)     Physical inactivity

Staying active is one of the most important things a person can do to help curb obesity, lower the chances of heart disease and live healthily. Regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity helps reduce the risk of heart and blood vessel disease.

Home Care Tolland CT: Elder Care Tolland CT: Staying active is one of the most important things a person can do to help curb obesity, lower the chances of heart disease and live healthily. Regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity helps reduce the risk of heart and blood vessel disease.

The American Heart Association recommends that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Even short 10-minute activity sessions can be added up over the week to reach this goal. If you intend to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, you should aim for 40-minute sessions of moderate to vigorous activity 3 to 4 times a week.

5)     Obesity and overweight

People who have excess body fat — especially if a lot of it is at the waist — are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even if they have no other risk factors. Many people may have difficulty losing weight, but it may lead to clinically meaningful reductions in some risk factors, larger weight losses can benefit blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose.

The best approach to losing weight is to discuss dietary changes with your doctor and a nutritionist.

6)     Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes seriously increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Even when glucose levels are under control, diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, but the risks are even greater if blood sugar is not well controlled.

At least 68% of people >65 years of age with diabetes die of some form of heart disease, and 16% die of stroke. If you have diabetes, it's extremely important to work with your healthcare provider to manage it and control any other risk factors you can. The American Heart Association recommends that persons with diabetes who are obese or overweight make lifestyle changes to help manage blood sugar.

Elder Care in Tolland CT: Factors that contribute to heart disease risk

These factors are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but their significance and prevalence haven't yet been determined

1)     Stress

Individual response to stress may be a contributing factor. Some scientists have noted a relationship between coronary heart disease risk and stress in a person's life, their health behaviors, and socioeconomic status. These factors may affect established risk factors. For example, people under stress may overeat, start smoking or smoke more than they otherwise would.

2)     Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, increase the risk of cardiomyopathy and stroke, cancer and other diseases. It can contribute to high triglycerides, and produce irregular heartbeats. However, according to the American Heart Association, there is a cardioprotective effect of moderate alcohol consumption (no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women) although it does not recommend that nondrinkers start using alcohol.

3)     Diet and Nutrition

A healthy diet is one of the best ways to fight cardiovascular disease. The food you eat (and the amount) can affect other controllable risk factors: cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and overweight. Choose nutrient-rich foods — which have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are lower in calories — over nutrient-poor foods.

Home Care Tolland CT: A healthy diet is one of the best ways to fight cardiovascular disease. The food you eat (and the amount) can affect other controllable risk factors: cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and overweight. Choose nutrient-rich foods — which have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are lower in calories — over nutrient-poor foods.  Choose a diet that emphasizes intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils, and nuts;

Choose a diet that emphasizes intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats. And to maintain a healthy weight, coordinate your diet with your physical activity level, to use up as many calories as you take in.

 

Senior Care in Tolland CT: Risk factors you can’t change

1)     Increasing Age

Coronary heart disease is more prevalent among Americans who are older than 65. At older ages, heart attacks kill more women than men within two weeks of the attack.

2)     Male Sex (Gender)

The male population suffers more heart attacks than women do. Men also have attacks earlier in life. According to the American Heart Association, even after menopause, when women's death rate from heart disease increases, it's not as great as men's.

3)     Heredity (Including Race)

Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop it themselves. Most people with a strong family history of heart disease have one or more of the other risk factors.

Factors like Age, gender, and heredity cannot be modified. The more of these factors you have, the greater your chance of developing coronary heart disease. When these risks are present, it's even more important for you to manage the risk factors that you can change.

Read Also: 

 

Twelve signs of a Heart Attack

Controlling the risks can reduce heart attack in 80% 

Learn More about Home Helpers Home Care

* Peter DiMaria's "We Care" column about Home Care, Elderly Care, Dementia Care and Alzheimer's Care is published bi-weekly in the Journal Inquirer, distributed in Manchester CT, Vernon CT, Tolland CT, Ellington CT, Somers CT, Suffield CT, Stafford CT, Enfield CT, and all North Central Connecticut.