Many people – young and old become victims of heart attack. A heart attack happens when the flow of blood into the heard is impeded. This is often caused by a build up of cholesterol and fat that forms a plaque in your arteries that feed blood into your heart. This interrupted blood flow damages the heart muscles.

Here are the risk factors that put you at increased risk for a heart attack.

#1 Age

Men 45 years and older of age and women 55 years and older of age are at a higher risk of having heart problems.

#2 Diabetes

Diabetes means your body does not produce sufficient insulin or your body does not respond to insulin properly. Insulin helps control your blood glucose levels. Having diabetes may cause your blood glucose levels to rise, and if uncontrolled can lead to a heart attack.

#3 Family History

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If you have a family history of heart problems, you may be at risk. They probably result from a number of genetic changes that although individually have a subtle effect, but works collectively in a complex manner to put you at an increased risk of a heart attack.

#4 Stress

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Stress exposes your body to constant elevated levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Persistent exposure to these hormones are unhealthy and increases your risk of having a heart attack. Try yoga – it’s been known to reduce stress.

#5 High Blood Pressure

A healthy heart blood pressure is 120/80. High blood pressure can damage your arteries, hence putting you at risk for a heart attack. You can manage your blood pressure through a healthy diet, an exercise regime and maintaining a healthy weight.

#6 High Cholesterol

High cholesterol form the building block of plaque that ultimately blocks your arteries and hence putting you at risk for a heart attack. Should your total cholesterol level to good cholesterol level ratio be more than 5:1, you are at risk of a heart attack. Control what you eat, and take in good cholesterol such as Omega 3 and 6 to ensure you have a healthy level of cholesterol.

#7 High Fat Diet

Research has shown that a high fat diet is estimated to cause 31 per cent of coronary heart diseases. Cut down on the burgers and French fries and make sure you have enough of your vegetables.

#8 Obesity

Excess body fat increases your risk of a heart attack.Excess weight can put a strain on your heart. To avoid this, eat a diet low in fat, sodium, refined sugars, saturated fat and trans fat.

#9 Smoking

Smoking has been greatly linked to cardiovascular problems and even lung cancer. This is the most preventable risk factor for heart problems. Quitting smoking can greatly decrease your risk for a heart attack – regardless of how long you have smoked previously. Be concerned for your health, quit smoking.

#10 Inactive Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle means your heart muscles may become weak. Physical activity makes your heart muscles stronger. Make sure you get at least 2.5 hours of physical activity every week. You can do this over a course of 3-4 days. Or even just 30 minutes of light physical activity such as brisk walking or cycling everyday can make a difference!

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