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Heart disease is a very real problem for both men and women. In fact, it is the number one health problem in America as well as the leading cause of death.
In a health risk assessment for heart disease, you need to examine two types of risk factors; risk factors beyond your control and risk factors within your control. Taking action to reduce the risk factors in your control can offset the facts you cannot change.
Risk Factors Beyond Your Control
* Advancing age – The heart disease risk for women rises as they grow older.
* Gender- Men tend to have heart attacks at younger ages and they carry a greater risk for heart attacks than women.
* Race- African American women are at a higher risk of heart disease than Caucasian women.
* Family history- Blood relatives with heart disease increase your chances.
* Previous heart attack- If you've had one, chances are good you'll have another.
Risk Factors in Your Control
* Smoking – This habit puts your heart disease risk through the roof.
* High Blood Pressure (hypertension) – Obesity increases your risk for hypertension, which, in turn, increases your risk for heart disease.
* High Cholesterol – Higher levels of HDL (good cholesterol) can lower your risk, but high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) increase it.
* Sedentary Lifestyle – Inactivity often leads to obesity, and on to heart disease.
* Overweight – Extra fat, especially belly fat, increases your risk.
* Diabetes – The disease and its complications increase your risk.