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Coronary artery disease is one of the most common diseases affecting Western civilization and there are some key risk factors that may predispose people to developing the disease. One of the most significant complications of coronary artery disease is heart attack.
1. Dyslipidemia (High Cholesterol) - Could be hereditary or diet related. Dyslipidemia increases the chance of clogged arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart attacks, stroke, or other circulatory concerns, especially in smokers. In adults, it’s often related to obesity, unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise, but could also be hereditary.
2. Diabetes - Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can begin during childhood and adulthood. Type 2 is more common in older adults, but the increase in the number of children with obesity has led to more cases of type 2 diabetes in younger people. Managing weight, improving diet and exercising can all help to lower the risk of developing diabetes.
3. Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) -Hypertension forces the heart to work harder as the force of blood pushing against the artery walls is consistently too high. As with the many of the other risk factors, hypertension has an increased risk of developing when having a poor diet and staying sedentary.
4. Lack of physical activity and obesity - Compared to those at a normal weight, people with overweight or obesity are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke. In the United States, approximately 74% of adults are overweight or obese. Only 24% of adults and 16.5% of high school students meet the guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
5. Smoking - About 34 million US adults smoke cigarettes, and every day, about 1,600 young people under age 18 try their first cigarette. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease and stroke and causes 1 in every 4 deaths from these conditions
To keep an eye out for your health, it is recommended to see your family physician at least once per year and have labs checked. Every intervention to manage or eliminate these risk factors will help to decrease the risk of heart attack.
“Chronic Disease Center.” cdc.gov, 2 Mar. 2023, www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/.