Family History Of Cvd
If you have a family history of CVD, your risk of developing it is also increased.
You’re considered to have a family history of CVD if either:
- your father or brother were diagnosed with CVD before they were 55
- your mother or sister were diagnosed with CVD before they were 65
Tell your doctor or nurse if you have a family history of CVD. They may suggest checking your blood pressure and cholesterol level.
How Critical Illness Insurance Can Help You Pay For Costs Associated With A Heart Attack
Critical illness insurance is a type of supplemental health insurance. It can help you cover out-of-pocket medical expenses that your primary health insurance plan doesnt cover.
Critical illness insurance pays a lump sum cash benefit if you or a family member experience a covered critical illness, including a heart attack or stroke. Once your diagnosis is verified, your insurance company will pay out a lump sum cash benefit depending on the type of illness.
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What We Offer You For Lifestyle Factors For Heart Disease
- Specialized expertise of licensed clinical psychologists trained in health psychology, biofeedback, and mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques.
- Collaborative care that includes teamwork between psychologists, psychiatrists, cardiologists, dietitians, and other specialists.
- Specialized support services such as smoking cessation programs, nutrition consultation, and stress-management classes.
- Comprehensive lifestyle modification program, including one of the countrys largest psychological support programs for people at risk for heart disease.
- Active research program that includes studies on the psychological impact that SCAD has on women and the use of telecommunication to manage hypertension.
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What Are The Signs Of A Heart Attack
Sometimes the symptoms can be so strong theyre unmistakable but at other times the symptoms may feel like just normal aches and pains or even gas. Common symptoms of a heart attack that you should pay attention to include are¹:
Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw, or back
Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or abdominal pain
Shortness of breath
Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness
For women, the symptoms of a heart attack can be different. Some of the most common symptoms of heart attack in women are¹¹:
Flu like symptoms that might last a day or two
Shortness of breath
Upper back pressure or pain
Dizziness or lightheadedness
How Many Kids You Have
Women who get pregnant more than once have an increased risk of later developing atrial fibrillation, also known as a-fib, according to a study in the journal Circulation. A-fib is a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, and other complications. In the study, women with four or more pregnancies were 30% to 50% more likely to develop a-fib compared to women who had never been pregnant.
The study authors say they don’t want to discourage women from having children, only that more research is needed to understand the connection. “We know that during pregnancy the heart gets larger, there are hormonal changes, the immune system is revved up,” says Dr. Bauman. “So maybe these same sorts of changes can also contribute to heart disease.”
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Having An Unhealthy Diet
- What you eat affects risk factors such as your weight, cholesterol and blood glucose levels and blood pressure.
- Following a heart-healthy eating plan will help to ensure you get all the nutrients you need to support your health.
- This means eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, whole grains in place of refined grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and other sources of healthy fats such as oily fish. You may also choose to include non-processed lean meats, poultry and/or dairy, while choosing vegetable-based oils.
- Learn more about heart-healthy eating.
Major Risk Factors That Can’t Be Changed
The risk factors on this list are ones you’re born with and cannot be changed. The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing coronary heart disease. Since you can’t do anything about these risk factors, it’s even more important for you to manage the risk factors that can be changed.
What Are The Heart Risk Factors That I Can’t Change
The following heart risk factors are things you cant change. However, knowing that you have a certain risk factor helps you to know what your likelihood of having a heart-related event such as a heart attack or stroke is.
The more risk factors you have, the more important it is to make changes to the factors that you can influence. By making healthy choices every day, you can reduce your overall risk of heart disease.
What Causes A Heart Attack
The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary artery disease, which is the most common type of heart disease. This is when your coronary arteriescannot carry enough oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. Most of the time, coronary artery disease happens when a waxy substance called Plaque builds up inside your arteries, causing the arteries to narrow. The buildup of this plaque is called atherosclerosis. This can happen over many years, and it can block blood flow to parts of your heart muscle. Plaques that narrow arteries slowly over time cause angina.
Eventually, an area of plaque can break open inside your artery. This causes a blood clots to form on the plaques surface. If the clot becomes large enough, it can block blood flow to your heart. If the blockage isnt treated quickly, a part of your heart muscle begins to die.
Figure A shows damage caused by a heart attack. Figure B shows the coronary artery with plaque buildup and a blood clot.
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Major Risk Factors You Can Modify Treat Or Control
The risk that smokers will develop coronary heart disease is much higher than that for nonsmokers.
Cigarette smoking is a powerful independent risk factor for sudden cardiac death in patients with coronary heart disease. Cigarette smoking also interacts with other risk factors to greatly increase the risk for coronary heart disease. Exposure to other peoples smoke increases the risk of heart disease even for nonsmokers.
Learn about smoking and cardiovascular disease
High blood cholesterol
As your blood cholesterol rises, so does your risk of coronary heart disease. When other risk factors are also present, this risk increases even more. A persons cholesterol level is also affected by age, sex, heredity and diet. Heres the lowdown on:
Learn more about managing your cholesterol.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure increases the hearts workload, causing the heart muscle to thicken and become stiffer. This stiffening of the heart muscle is not normal and causes the heart to function abnormally. It also increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure.
When high blood pressure is present alongside obesity, smoking, high blood cholesterol levels or diabetes, the risk of heart attack or stroke increases even more.
Learn more about managing your blood pressure.
Learn more about getting active.
Obesity and being overweight
Learn more about managing your weight.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attack
The major symptoms of a heart attack are
- Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint. You may also break out into a cold sweat.
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.
- Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but shortness of breath also can happen before chest discomfort.
Other symptoms of a heart attack could include unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. Women are more likely to have these other symptoms. Learn more about women and heart disease.
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.1Learn more facts about heart attack and heart disease.
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Depression And Heart Disease
Depression can lead to a number of changes in your body that can increase your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Too much stress, consistently feeling sad, or both maycan elevate your blood pressure.
In addition, depression also raises your levels of a substance called C-reactive protein . CRP is a marker for inflammation in the body. Higher than normal levels of CRP have also been shown to predict heart disease.
Depression maycan also lead to a decreased interest in daily activities. This includes daily routines like exercise that are necessary to help prevent heart disease. Other unhealthy behaviors may follow, such as:
- skipping medications
- not putting effort into eating a healthy diet
- drinking too much alcohol
- smoking cigarettes
Talk with your doctor if you suspect you have depression. Professional help can get you back on the path to good health and may reduce the possibility of recurring problems.
Heart disease is dangerous, but it can be prevented in many cases. Everyone would benefit from maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle, but its particularly important for those with increased risk.
Prevent heart disease by doing the following:
- Exercise regularly.
- Reduce stress in your life.
What Are The Heart Disease Risk Factors That I Cannot Change
- Age. Your risk of heart disease increases as you get older. Men age 45 and older and women age 55 and older have a greater risk.
- Sex. Some risk factors may affect heart disease risk differently in women than in men. For example, estrogen provides women some protection against heart disease, but diabetes raises the risk of heart disease more in women than in men.
- Race or ethnicity. Certain groups have higher risks than others. African Americans are more likely than whites to have heart disease, while Hispanic Americans are less likely to have it. Some Asian groups, such as East Asians, have lower rates, but South Asians have higher rates.
- Family history. You have a greater risk if you have a close family member who had heart disease at an early age.
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Beginnings Of Our Understanding
For thousands of years, our knowledge of the causes of CVD and its therapy was static. It was only in the last half of the 20th century that research into the causes of CVDs accelerated, and with it, new therapies were found.
What stimulated this research? The premature death in 1945 of the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt from hypertensive heart disease and stroke stimulated this research in USA. Deaths from CVD and stroke reached epidemic proportions in the USA at that time which induced the Americans to take the lead in cardiovascular research.
The death of President Roosevelt illustrated how little we knew about the general causes of heart disease and stroke. Therefore, a health project was set up in the USA the FHS to identify the common factors or characteristics that contribute to CVD. FHS was under the direction of the National Heart Institute, now known as the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Researchers followed the development of CHD over a long period in a large group of participants who had not yet developed overt symptoms of CVD or suffered a heart attack or stroke. The small town of Framingham in Massachusetts, USA was chosen due to its geographical proximity to the many cardiologists at Harvard Medical School. Furthermore, the residents had already participated in the Framingham tuberculosis demonstration study two decades earlier.
Walking For Heart Health
Walking is a great activity for heart health. Getting involved with a Heart Foundation Walking group is a fun and social way to be active. You can also register for a free Personal Walking Plan. Visit Heart Foundation Walking for more information.
Walking for an average of 30 minutes or more a day can:
- lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
- reduce the risk of some cancers
- maintain bone density reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures
- improve balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls and other injuries.
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Heart Attack Survivor Stories
“I am thankful for each day and the opportunities it brings to share my experiences with others.”
“Ive changed my diet to minimize fat and salt. Im learning to read labels and make healthy choices.”
“It all comes down to listening the cardiologists listening to us, and not just with their stethoscopes and us listening to the cardiologists. Without both of these, there are no winners!”
“I now take a low dose Bayer Aspirin regimen, and I was told that the aspirin I was given during my heart attack helped save my life! Thanks for being there for me Bayer!”
Having High Blood Pressure
- High blood pressure increases the workload placed on your heart. This makes the heart muscle thicker and stiffer, causing your heart to work poorly. A large heart is not a healthy one.
- High blood pressure also increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure.
- If you also smoke or have obesity, high blood cholesterol levels or diabetes, your risk of heart attack or stroke increases even more.
- Learn more about high blood pressure and ways to reduce it.
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Risk Factors Of A Heart Attack
The first step in preventing a cardiac event, like a heart attack, is to understand your risk. There are risk factors for a heart attack you can control, and some you cannot. Understand your risks, and talk to your doctor about making changes to limit the risk.
Need a primary care physician or cardiologist? Search Find a Doc.
Healthy Eating And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Eating a variety of foods is good for our health and can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease.
The Heart Foundation recommends people follow a heart-healthy eating pattern:
- Eat plenty of vegetables, fruit and wholegrains.
- Include a variety of healthy protein-rich foods, especially fish and seafood, legumes , nuts and seeds. Eggs and poultry can also be enjoyed as part of a heart-healthy eating pattern. If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and limit to one to three times per week.
- Choose unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. If you have heart disease or high cholesterol, choose reduced fat varieties.
- Include healthy fats and oils. Choose nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking.
- Add herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.
This way of eating is naturally low in unhealthy fats, salt and added sugar. Its rich in wholegrains, fibre, antioxidants and healthy fats.
Check out the Heart Foundation website for a range of resources to help you follow a heart-healthy eating pattern.
For individualised nutrition advice, you can also speak to an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
- keep your bones and muscle strong
- make you feel more confident, happy and relaxed
- help you to sleep better.
If you have had a heart attack, regular physical activity will help you to recover more quickly. If you have diabetes, it will also help you to manage your blood sugar levels.
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What Information Does A Cardiac Risk Calculator Require
There are different methods to assess heart disease risk factors. In general, a heart disease risk assessment may consider your:
- Age, sex and race.
- Family history of heart attacks or heart disease, especially before age 60.
- History of aspirin therapy to lower the risk of heart problems.
- Smoking history .
Alcohol And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Alcohol is not a necessary or recommended part of a heart-healthy eating pattern and drinking alcohol can increase the risk of a heart attack and stroke.
If you dont drink alcohol, dont start. If you do drink alcohol, the Heart Foundation recommends following the National Health and Medical Research Councils recommended levels of alcohol consumption:
Healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than four standard drinks on any one day. Children and young people under 18 years of age should not drink alcohol. To reduce the risk of harm to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol. For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for their baby. For people with heart disease and related conditions or risk factors, the evidence is not strong enough to recommend a safe amount of alcohol consumption for heart health. For some people, the safest option is to not drink alcohol at all.
Speak to your doctor for advice and support to cut down on alcohol.
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