A leading cause of death
Are you at risk of a Heart Attack?
Heart attack is the leading cause of death in India. As per World Health Organization (WHO), over 17 million people die from heart disease annually. Heart diseases are a major cause of mortality in India, accounting for nearly 2.4 million deaths yearly. Here you’ll learn about the risk factors of heart attack, the risk of heart attack by age, and the risk factor after a heart attack.
Risk Factors of Heart Attack
Several factors increase the risk of a heart attack. Some of the most common risk factors are:
As a person ages, the risk of heart attack increases. Men above 45 and women above 55 are at higher risk of a heart attack.
High Blood Pressure
It is a significant risk factor for heart attack. It damages the blood vessels and strains the heart, leading to a heart attack.
High cholesterol levels in the blood can clog the arteries, restricting the blood flow to the heart and leading to a heart attack.
Diabetes increases the risk of heart attack as it damages the blood vessels and increases the cholesterol level.
An overweight body puts extra pressure on the heart, thereby enhancing the risk of a heart attack.
If your parents or siblings have a history of heart disease, you are at a higher risk of developing it
Lack of Physical Activity
A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of heart attack as it weakens the heart and the blood vessels
Smoking enhances the risk of a heart attack by damaging the blood vessels.
Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, thereby increasing the heart attack risk.
Risk Factors after Heart Attack
If you have already had a heart attack, you are at a higher risk of having another one. Therefore, it is essential to manage the risk factors to prevent a recurrence. Some of the ways to reduce the risk factors after a heart attack are:
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of a heart attack. Quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and workout can help prevent a recurrence.
Physicians prescribe medications to reduce the risk of a heart attack. These may include aspirin, beta-blockers, statins, and ACE inhibitors.
Cardiac rehabilitation involves a structured exercise program, diet modification, and stress management to reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the risk factors of heart attack?
There are many risk factors of heart attack, including age (risk increases with age), family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity and stress.
How does age affect the risk of a heart attack?
The risk of heart attack increases with age. Men above 45 years and women exceeding 55 years of age are at increased risk. It is partly because the arteries that supply blood to the heart can narrow and harden over time, increasing the risk of a blockage.
What is the link between high blood pressure and heart attack?
High blood pressure can damage the arteries and increase the risk of a blockage. Over time, this can cause the arteries to become narrow and stiff, making it more difficult for blood to flow to the heart. High blood pressure also increases the heart workload, leading to heart failure.
How does smoking increase the risk of a heart attack?
Smoking can damage the lining of the arteries, leading to the build-up of fatty deposits (plaques) that can block blood flow to the heart. Smoking can also increase the risk of blood clots and reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the heart. All these factors can increase the risk of a heart attack.
Can stress increase the risk of a heart attack?
Yes, stress can increase the risk of a heart attack. Stress can cause the release of hormones that can increase blood pressure and heart rate, making the heart work harder. Chronic stress also increases the risk of inflammation, contributing to the build-up of plaques in the arteries. Managing stress through meditation or exercise can help reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Can a healthy lifestyle reduce the risk of a heart attack?
A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of a heart attack. Eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and managing stress, reduces the risk of a heart attack. Managing conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol can also help reduce the risk of a heart attack.
1. Indian Heart Association. Heart Disease Statistics in India. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/heart_attack.htm
2. World Health Organization. (2022). Cardiovascular Disease. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/health-topics/cardiovascular-diseases/#tab=tab_1
3. Indian Council of Medical Research. (2019). India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative - Ischemic Heart Disease Report. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/early-signs-of-a-heart-attack/
4. National Health Service. (2022). Heart Attack. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heart-attack/
Disclaimer: The information presented by Boston Scientific Corporation is for educational purposes only and does not recommend self-management of health issues. The information should not be treated as comprehensive and does not intend to provide diagnosis, treatment or any medical advice. Individual results may vary and hence, it is advisable to consult your doctor regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options.