About Coronary Heart Disease
Understanding and modifying risk factors
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world, but many of its risk factors can be modified or controlled. Coronary heart disease is a disorder that affects the heart muscle and the blood vessels. The most serious danger of coronary heart disease is a heart attack, which occurs when the supply of blood to the heart is greatly reduced or stopped due to a blockage in a coronary artery.
Knowing the signs of heart attack and seeking immediate medical attention are critical to reducing death from coronary heart disease. Likewise, knowing the risk factors of heart disease and doing your part to reduce them, when possible, is also extremely important.
Risk Factors for Heart Disease
The risk factors of heart disease that cannot be changed or controlled include:
- Age: More than 80% of people who die of coronary heart disease are age 65 or older.
- Gender: Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women do, and they tend to have heart attacks earlier in life.
- Genes (including ethnicity): Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop it. The risk of heart disease is higher among African Americans, Mexican
- Americans and Native Americans than it is among Caucasians.
The risk factors of heart disease that can be modified or controlled, either through lifestyle change or medications, include:
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Cigarette smoking/tobacco use
- Physical inactivity
- Obesity and overweight
Living a heart healthy lifestyle
Eating a low fat diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and getting regular exercise are the keys to leading a heart healthy lifestyle. Through routine screenings and regular checkups with your doctor, risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes can be identified early, minimizing the damage these conditions cause the blood vessels and the heart.
Ellis Medicine offers regular "Heart Smart" nutrition classes, smoking cessation classes and educational programs and support to help prevent diabetes, and to teach those with diabetes how to live well with their disease.
To learn more about diet and lifestyle classes offered by Ellis Medicine, click here.
For more information about Ellis Medicine’s Wright Heart Center, please call 518.831.8840.