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Heart Attack: Are
You At Risk?
|If you’re male
and you lead an inactive lifestyle you probably have at least 3
risk factors associated with heart disease.
I know, I know, you feel fine but so do most people before they have a heart
attack. Unfortunately, most people find out they have heart
disease the day they are admitted in to hospital, and they are
the lucky ones!
Ladies, don’t think this is just something for men to worry about (as it has
been in the past). Women, as well as men, are more likely to die
of heart disease than of any type of cancer.
This is because of our modern lifestyle. We are working longer hours, so we
eat fast food, and there’s no time for exercise. To make matters
worse, machines are taking the ‘work’ out of work. We are less
active and it’s killing us!
So what are the risk factors for heart disease?
Firstly, there are two types of risk factors: those that can be changed, and
those that can’t be changed. It’s important to know that you
only need to have 3 of these to be at risk. Each extra risk
factor that you have increases your chance of having a heart
Risk factors that can’t be changed:
Heredity: You are at greater risk if your parents, grandparents, brothers,
or sisters, have heart disease.
Gender: Men are at greater risk than women, though the risk for women
increases after menopause.
Age: As you increase in age, so do your chances of having a heart attack.
Once you reach 40 you should have regular check-ups.
Risk factors that can be changed:
Smoking: A smoker is twice as likely than a non-smoker to have a heart
attack. It not only places extra strain on the heart and lungs
but also makes blood cholesterol stickier, making it easier to
High Blood Cholesterol: Cholesterol is produced naturally by the body and is
essential to our health. The problem comes when we consume too
much in our diet.
High Blood Pressure: Just like with high cholesterol there are no early
symptoms. The first most people learn they have this is when
it’s at a dangerous level.
Physical Inactivity: If you are inactive, you are more likely to have a
heart attack. Even a 10 minute walk each day can make all the
Obesity: If you are obese, you are placing your heart under a great deal of
strain even at rest.
I might be at risk, what should I do?
If you think you could be at risk, the first thing you should do is visit
your doctor. Secondly, you need to modify your lifestyle.
Exercise for at least 10 minutes per day (30 minutes is better
but anything is better than nothing!). You also need to eat
foods that are low in fat. If you smoke you need to give up.
Even if you don’t have many risk factors it’s a good idea to visit your
doctor each year. Some risk factors can change within a short
period of time and getting on to them early can make all the
About the author:
Ray Kelly is an Exercise Scientist with 15 years experience in the
health and fitness industry. Sign up for his free 7 Day Weight
Loss Course at