My Health Matters – Heart disease risk factors: the Big Five

My Health Matters – Heart disease risk factors: the Big Five


For both men and women we think about a Big
Five risk factors. Smoking. The number one thing you can do to keep yourself healthy from many many causes: if you do smoke, quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Have your blood pressure checked. We know that people with high blood pressure
are more likely to develop cardiac issues. People with high cholesterol are also more
likely to develop cardiac issues. So have your cholesterol checked routinely. People who have diabetes. So know what your numbers are. Do you have high blood sugar? Has someone in your family had high blood sugar? That kind of cues you to get checked. The other thing we think about is actually
age. We know that cardiac disease is a disease
of aging, so the older we get the more likely we are to develop cardiac disease. For women in particular, we think about menopause. We feel that women are fairly well protected
against cardiac disease before menopause and as we go through menopause a variety of things
happen: blood pressure rises, our weight rises, our cholesterol and our blood pressure rise. So it puts us in a more vulnerable position
and we will be more likely to develop coronary disease after menopause. Having said that, we’re seeing more and more
coronary disease in young women. So it’s really important to think about our
big risk factors of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and age, and
really be aware of what those numbers are and treat them aggressively.

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