1. Age and Gender
The risk of CAD increases with age. You are already at risk if you
A male, 45 years and over
A woman, 50 years and over, especially if you've experienced
2. Family History
- Does your family have a history of heart and blood vessel disease?
- Did a close relative ever have a heart attack before the age of 55?
If yes, you're probably at greater risk than someone who has no family history of heart disease.
3. Excessive Body Weight
Excessive body weight (BMI >27) and obesity may lead to heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure (two other diseases that also contribute to heart risk).
Use the BMI Calculator to see if your body weight is healthy for your heart.
WHAT'S YOUR BMI? Click here
4. High Fat (Lipid) Levels In The Blood
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is transported in the blood on "vehicles" called "lipoproteins". A high concentration of "bad" LDL-cholesterol is bad because it increases the risk of atherosclerosis. Higher levels of "good" HDL-cholesterol on the other hand, help keep arteries healthy.
Keep your total cholesterol level to below 220 milligrammes per decilitre or 5.7 millimols per litre.
THE FATS & CHOLESTEROL CONNECTION
Cigarette smoke is a source of reactive "free radicals" that can damage cell membranes, enzymes and the genetic blue-print, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
These unstable free radicals can also consume your body's anti-oxidants
(example, vitamins E and C) and put you in "oxidative stress" which increases your risk to heart disease.
Smoking damages and roughens the lining of your arteries thus increasing the likelihood of atherosclerosis.
Smoking also increases risk of:
- Blood clots and thus greater chance of heart attack and stroke.
- Arterial spasms that can interrupt blood flow.
- High blood pressure which can lead to stroke, heart and kidney damage.
6. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a leading cause of premature death and affects many people.
It is not true that only highly strung and tense people have it. You could get high blood pressure without realising it.
High blood pressure is an important risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Blood pressure should be maintained at less than 140/90 millimetres mercury. Get your blood pressure checked at NSM public road shows and at all clinics and hospitals.
7. Lack Of Physical Activity
Leading a sedentary lifestyle with no exercise and little physical activity is DANGEROUS for your heart. It Increases your likelihood of�
1. Gaining unhealthy body weight, an independent risk factor for heart disease
2. Having a poor blood cholesterol profile (i.e. the balance between HDL and LDL concentrations)
3. Poor heart and lung performance (cardiovascular fitness)
8. Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes is called 'the mother of diseases'. It can lead to many conditions including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and so on.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Increased thirst
- Greater frequency and volume of urination
- Weight loss despite an increased appetite
- Blurred vision
- Tingling or numbness in limbs
- Infections that are slow to heal
A healthy blood glucose level (non-fasting) to have is less than 180mg per decilitre or
10.0 millimols. Whereas, a fasting blood glucose level is below 140 milligrammes per decilitre or 7.8 millimoles per litre. The best way to find out whether you have diabetes is to undergo periodic blood glucose screenings. You can do so at NSM public roadshows, clinics and hospitals.