Heart disease is one of the 3 leading causes of death in the United States. The other two are diabetes and cancer. If you are overweight or obese, your risks of having a heart attack are higher. 50% of diabetics have heart problems.
Heart disease is caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, stress, genetics, smoking and lack of exercise. When the arteries in your body get to hard or are blocked, your heart doesn't receive the correct supply of blood.
- Men in their 40s have a higher risk of CHD than women. But as women get older (especially after they reach menopause), their risk increases to almost equal that of a man's risk.
- Genetics. You are more likely to develop the condition if someone in your family has had a history of heart disease -- especially if they had it before age 50.
- Diabetes is a strong risk factor for heart disease.
- High blood pressure increases your risk of coronary artery disease and heart failure.
- Abnormal cholesterol levels: your LDL ("bad") cholesterol should be as low as possible, and your HDL ("good") cholesterol should be as high as possible.
- Metabolic syndrome refers to high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist, and increased insulin levels. People with this group of problems have an increased chance of getting heart disease.
- Smokers have a much higher risk of heart disease than nonsmokers.
- Chronic kidney disease can increase your risk.
- Already having atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries in another part of your body (examples are stroke and abdominal aortic aneurysm) increases your risk of having coronary heart disease.
- Other risk factors including alcohol abuse, not getting enough exercise, and excessive amounts of stress.