Factors Causing Heart Diseases

Why It Happened?

Gender

Men have a greater risk than women for developing heart disease. Men also are at greater risk of having a heart attack at a younger age.

Age

Simply put, the older you get, the greater risk you run for developing heart disease. It is estimated that four out of five individuals who die of coronary heart disease are 65 years of age or older. Further, at older ages women are much more likely to have a fatal heart attack than men.

Family History

A family history of heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), and diabetes increases the chance you will develop heart disease. People with biological relatives who have heart attacks at a young age (i.e., less than fifty-five years old) are considered to have a "strong" family history of heart disease and are at much higher individual risk.

Obesity

People who are overweight are more likely to have high blood pressure, which increases the heart's overall workload. They also tend to have high cholesterol levels, which increases the chances of developing a blockage in blood flow to the heart. Furthermore, obesity increases a person's chance of developing diabetes, another major risk factor for heart disease.

Smoking

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart attacks. Among other health consequences, smoking causes people's blood to clot more easily, and raises blood pressure,

High Blood Pressure

Uncontrolled blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease. The higher your blood pressure, the harder it is for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. Like any other stressed muscle, an overloaded heart responds to exertion by growing bigger; by thickening its walls and increasing it's overall size. While these changes sound positive, they actually are harmful and are signs of heart disease. As the walls of the heart thicken, the heart chamber's volume becomes greatly reduced and less blood can be pumped each time the heart beats. Also, the thickened muscle walls make it harder for the heart to pump out what blood it is able to collect.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. A diabetic person's risk of developing heart disease is equivalent to the risk of a person who has had a previous heart attack. Diabetes is a disease of blood sugar regulation. People with diabetes are at greater risk for heart disease if their blood sugar is not kept under good control. In addition, diabetics also need to control their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In fact, the cholesterol goal for a diabetic is as low as the goal for a person who has had a previous heart attack.

Other Factors

Stress, drinking too much alcohol, and depression have all been linked to cardiovascular disease. Stress may cause some individuals to overeat, smoke, and/or drink excessively. Drinking can lead to higher blood pressure and obesity. While some studies have suggested that daily moderate alcohol intake (one drink a day) can reduce the risk of heart disease, there is a balance. Alcohol can be an addictive drug, and it is a source of 'empty' (i.e., with limited nutritional value) calories.