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P1215 Women and Heart Disease

RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE Most risk factors can be managed to help make you healthier, but there are some you can’t change. Risk factors you can’t change are: 77 Family/sibling history of heart disease. If your mother or sister had heart trouble before age 65 or your father or brother before age 55, you’re at higher risk. 77 A ge. The older you are, the higher your risk. 77M enopause. Women who have reached postmenopause are at a greater risk for heart disease, especially those whose menopause was triggered by surgery. The risk factors you can manage include: 77 High blood pressure. When blood pushes too hard against artery walls, it damages the artery lining. You’re at risk if your blood pressure is 120/80 or higher. 77 Unhealthy cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a fatty substance in the blood. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides (both bad lipids, or fats) can build up in artery walls, narrowing the arteries. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (a good lipid) helps clear bad lipids away. You’re at risk if you have LDL of 100 mg/dL or higher. Talk with your doctor about the cholesterol and triglycerides levels that are right for you. 77 D iabetes. Diabetes causes high blood sugar, which can damage blood vessels if not kept under control. Having diabetes also makes you more likely to have a silent heart attack—one without any symptoms. You’re at risk if your blood sugar level is above 110 mg/dL. 77 S moking. Smoking damages the lining of the blood vessels and raises blood pressure. Research shows that smoking makes women up to six times more likely to have a heart attack. Also, secondhand smoke is dangerous to your health. 77 Excess weight and obesity. Excess weight makes your heart work harder, and that raises your risk of a heart attack. Being overweight or obese also puts you at risk of developing diabetes. Excess weight around the waist or stomach increases your risk the most. You’re at risk if your BMI (body-mass index) is 25 or higher. 77 Lack of exercise. Without regular exercise, you’re more likely to develop other risk factors, such as being overweight and developing diabetes. High blood pressure and unhealthy lipid levels are also more likely. Risk factors are habits and conditions that make heart disease more likely. The more you have, the higher are your chances of a heart attack and other problems. C H A P T E R 1 4 abcardio.org


P1215 Women and Heart Disease
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