Risk Factors For Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease currently affects more than 7 million Americans, making it the most common form of heart disease. Men initially have a greater risk for developing coronary heart disease than women do. Once a woman reaches menopause however, her risk for heart disease eventually equals or surpasses that of a man. Experts believe this may be due in part to a decrease in the production of estrogen, a female sex hormone that appears to offer some protection against heart disease.

Coronary heart disease remains the number one cause of death for both women and men in the US, accounting for more than 500,000 deaths from heart attacks each year. Experts agree that many of these deaths can be prevented by changes in lifestyle, which when implemented, can directly reduce your chances for developing coronary heart disease.

Risk factors for coronary heart disease are circumstances or conditions that increase the likelihood of your developing this disease. Risk factors are generally divided into two groups: controllable and uncontrollable.

Controllable risk factors
High blood pressure (hypertension)
High blood cholesterol (hyperlipidemia)
Smoking
Obesity
Sedentary lifestyle (too little physical activity)
Diabetes
Stress

Uncontrollable risk factors
Gender (males are at greater risk initially)
Heredity (family history of heart disease)
Age (risk increases with age)

In rarer instances, coronary heart disease can result from other medical conditions. Some examples of these include the formation of a blood clot in the coronary artery due to an abnormal blood clotting condition, inflammation of the coronary arteries due to an auto immune disorder, spasms of the coronary arteries secondary to cocaine abuse, and congenital (meaning you are born with it) abnormalities of the heart.

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