Are you at risk for heart attack or stroke?

You can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Start by becoming aware of your risk factors, the personal characteristics and habits that may increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Some you cannot change or control; some you can, by making a few changes in your habits or taking medicines as prescribed.

Use the checklist below to learn where to focus your efforts. Then work with your healthcare provider to reduce, prevent or control as many risk factors as you can. You will be glad you did… and so will your loved ones.
 
The following factors may increase your risk. If you have one or more ticks to these questions, you may be at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
 
Your age and sex may increase your risk if...
 
  • You are a man over 45 years old.
  • You are a woman over 50 years old, or you have passed menopause or you have had your ovaries removed.

 

Your family history may increase risk if...
 
  • Your father or brother had a heart attack before age 55 or your mother sister had one before age 65.
  • You have a close blood relative who had a stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA).

 

Your blood pressure may increase risk if...
 
  • Your blood pressure is 149/90 mm of Hg or higher or you have been told that your blood pressure is too high.

 

Tobacco smoke increases your risk if...
 
  • You smoke or live or work with people who smoke every day.

 

Excessive drinking increases your risk if...
 
  • You take more than 2 drinks of alcohol almost everyday.

 

Your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol level may increase your risk if...
 
  • Your total cholesterol level is 200 mg/dl or higher.
  • Your HDL ("good") cholesterol level is less than 40 mg/dl.

 

Physical inactivity may increase your risk if...
 
  • You get less than a total of 30 minutes of physical activity on most of the weekdays.

 

Excess body weight may increase your risk...
 
  • You are 9kg / 20 pounds or more overweight for your height and build.
 
Diabetes increase your risk if...
 
  • You have diabetes (fasting blood sugar level of 126mg/dl or higher) Or you need medicine to control your blood sugar.

 

Your medical history may increase your risk if...
 
  • You have coronary heart disease, atrial fibrillation or other heart condition(s) or you have had a heart attack.
  • You have been told that you have carotid artery disease, or you have had a stroke or TIA, or you have a disease of leg arteries, a high red blood cell count or sickle cell anaemia.

 

Cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke can be prevented.

Cardiovascular disease is caused not by one risk factor alone, but by several factors. Combinations of risk factors multiply, rather than merely add, their individual effects on your likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease.

 

At the same time, the presence of certain risk factors may influence the subsequent development of other risk factors. For instance, smoking, which in itself sharply increases a person’s risk of heart attack, tends to lead to high blood pressure, which is another contributory factor for heart disease.

 

Fortunately, the majority of these risk factors can be reduced by making changes to your lifestyle. Take your first step to prevent heart disease and stroke among you and your family!

 

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