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Is your heart at risk?

  • As you get older, your risk for heart disease and heart attack rises. This is in part due to the slow buildup of plaque inside your heart arteries, which can start during childhood. In men, the risk for heart disease increases after age 45. In women, the risk increases after age 55.
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    As you get older, your risk for heart disease and heart attack rises. This is in part due to the slow buildup of plaque inside your heart arteries, which can start during childhood. In men, the risk for heart disease increases after age 45. In women, the risk increases after age 55.

  • Family history plays a role in heart disease risk. Your risk increases if your father or brother was diagnosed with heart disease before 55 years of age, or if your mother or sister was diagnosed with the disease before 65 years of age.
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    Family history plays a role in heart disease risk. Your risk increases if your father or brother was diagnosed with heart disease before 55 years of age, or if your mother or sister was diagnosed with the disease before 65 years of age.

  • Before age 55, women have a lower risk for heart disease than men. After age 55, however, the risk for heart disease increases similarly in both women and men. This is because before menopause, estrogen provides some protection against heart disease for women.
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    Before age 55, women have a lower risk for heart disease than men. After age 55, however, the risk for heart disease increases similarly in both women and men. This is because before menopause, estrogen provides some protection against heart disease for women.

  • High blood cholesterol is a condition in which there is excessive cholesterol - a waxy, fat-like substance - in your blood. The higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for heart disease and heart attack.
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    High blood cholesterol is a condition in which there is excessive cholesterol - a waxy, fat-like substance - in your blood. The higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for heart disease and heart attack.

  • Triglycerides are another type of fat found in the blood. Some studies suggest that a high level of triglycerides in the blood also may raise the risk for heart disease, particularly in women.
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    Triglycerides are another type of fat found in the blood. Some studies suggest that a high level of triglycerides in the blood also may raise the risk for heart disease, particularly in women.

  • A blood pressure level higher than 120/80 mmHg raise your risk for heart disease. This risk grows as blood pressure levels rise. Only one of the two blood pressure numbers has to be above normal to put you at greater risk for heart disease and heart attack. Blood pressure normally rises with age and body size.
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    A blood pressure level higher than 120/80 mmHg raise your risk for heart disease. This risk grows as blood pressure levels rise. Only one of the two blood pressure numbers has to be above normal to put you at greater risk for heart disease and heart attack. Blood pressure normally rises with age and body size.

  • A high blood sugar level can lead to increased plaque buildup in your arteries, which multiplies your risk for heart disease.
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    A high blood sugar level can lead to increased plaque buildup in your arteries, which multiplies your risk for heart disease.

  • In adults, a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. 
Being overweight or obese can raise your risk for heart disease and heart attack because it increases the odds of getting blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
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    In adults, a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. Being overweight or obese can raise your risk for heart disease and heart attack because it increases the odds of getting blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

  • Smoking tobacco or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke raises your risk for heart disease as it triggers a buildup of plaque in your arteries. Smoking also increases the odds of blood clots in your arteries and blood clots can block plaque-narrowed arteries and cause a heart attack.
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    Smoking tobacco or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke raises your risk for heart disease as it triggers a buildup of plaque in your arteries. Smoking also increases the odds of blood clots in your arteries and blood clots can block plaque-narrowed arteries and cause a heart attack.

  • The most commonly reported trigger for a heart attack is an emotionally upsetting event, especially one involving anger. Stress also may indirectly raise your risk for heart disease if it makes you more likely to smoke or overeat foods high in fat and sugar.
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    The most commonly reported trigger for a heart attack is an emotionally upsetting event, especially one involving anger. Stress also may indirectly raise your risk for heart disease if it makes you more likely to smoke or overeat foods high in fat and sugar.

  • Foods rich in saturated and trans fats, and cholesterol raise LDL cholesterol, which in turn puts your heart at risk. Saturated fats are found in some meats, deep-fried and processed foods. Trans fats are found in some fried and processed foods. Cholesterol is found in eggs, many meats, dairy products, commercial baked goods, and certain types of shellfish. So, it becomes important to have a healthy diet to protect your heart from various complications.
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    Foods rich in saturated and trans fats, and cholesterol raise LDL cholesterol, which in turn puts your heart at risk. Saturated fats are found in some meats, deep-fried and processed foods. Trans fats are found in some fried and processed foods. Cholesterol is found in eggs, many meats, dairy products, commercial baked goods, and certain types of shellfish. So, it becomes important to have a healthy diet to protect your heart from various complications.

  • Inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who are active. A lack of physical activity can worsen other heart disease risk factors, such as high blood cholesterol and high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, diabetes and prediabetes, and overweight and obesity.
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    Inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who are active. A lack of physical activity can worsen other heart disease risk factors, such as high blood cholesterol and high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, diabetes and prediabetes, and overweight and obesity.

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