Q. Glen,How do I know if I am at high risk for a heart attack? And if I feel alright how can I tell?
A.Here is a article I read that best explains it!
There's a killer on the loose. In fact, the most deadly, dangerous killer of our time. Quietly stalking his prey, waiting until his victim is weak and vulnerable, and then, striking without warning with heartbreaking efficiency.
More deadly than Gacy, Dahmer, Berkowitz, Bundy and the BTK killer combined -- heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in the United States. Be afraid, be very afraid.
According to Dr. Curtis Mark Rimmerman, cardiologist, echocardiographer, medical director for Cleveland Clinic Westlake and author of Heart Attack: A Cleveland Clinic Guide, just because you don’t have any symptoms, doesn’t mean you’re not at risk for heart disease.
"Thirty to 40 percent of people with significant obstructive coronary artery disease -- plaque buildup on the inside of heart artery walls, which reduces blood flow -- have no symptoms at all until their first heart attack," explains Dr. Rimmerman.
So how can people protect themselves? By recognizing and managing the risk factors associated with heart disease, according to Dr. Rimmerman.
There are two types of risk factors that affect the heart and heart disease: modifiable risk factors, those that can be controlled by lifestyle and behavioral changes, and those that cannot, or nonmodifiable risk factors, says Dr. Rimmerman.
Nonmodifiable Risk Factors
Getting on in years: “Over 83 percent of people who die of coronary heart disease are 65 or older. At older ages, women who have heart attacks are more likely than men are to die from them within a few weeks,” Dr. Rimmerman writes.
Just being a man: Men have a greater risk of heart attacks than women, and they tend to have attacks earlier in life, according to Dr. Rimmerman.
Family tradition: “Genes are the No. 1 risk factor for coronary artery disease,” he explains. “Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop it themselves.
Higher heart disease risks are more common in African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, native Hawaiians and some Asian Americans -- partly due to higher rates of obesity and diabetes. “And most people with a strong family history of heart disease have one or more other risk factors," he said.
Modifiable Risk Factors
Smoking gun: “Smokers’ risk of developing coronary heart disease is two to four times greater than that of nonsmokers,” he said.
Dr. Rimmerman explains that smoking is a powerful independent risk factor for sudden cardiac death in those with coronary heart disease. It also greatly increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease in the first place.
“It’s never too late to stop smoking. Over time, depending on the age at which you quit, your cardiac risk begins to reach that of a nonsmoker.”
Obesity and overweight: “People who have excess body fat -- especially if most of it is at the waist -- are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if they have no other risk factors,” according to Dr. Rimmerman.
Excess weight increases the heart’s work; raises blood pressure, blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels; increases the likelihood of diabetes and lowers the levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
While losing weight is often very difficult, according to Dr. Rimmerman, “losing even as few as 10 pounds can lower your heart disease risk.”
Diabetes: Even if blood sugar levels are controlled, diabetes increases the chances of heart disease and stroke, but if blood sugar is not controlled, the risks become even greater.
“About three-quarters of people with diabetes die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease,” says Dr. Rimmerman. “If you have diabetes, it’s extremely important to work with your health-care provider to manage it and control any other risk factors you can.”
High blood cholesterol: “As blood cholesterol rises, so does risk of coronary heart disease,” Dr. Rimmerman says.
Combined with other risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure, the risk increases exponentially. Cholesterol can be affected by age, sex, heredity and diet.
High blood pressure: "High blood pressure increases the heart’s workload, causing the heart to thicken and become stiffer,” Rimmerman says. It also increases a person’s risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure -- and when teamed with other risk factors such as obesity, diabetes or smoking, it becomes a very risky combination for strokes and heart attacks.
Physical challenge: A sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor that contributes to all other risk factors. Dr. Rimmerman recommends regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity to help prevent heart and blood-vessel disease.
“Exercise can help control blood cholesterol, diabetes and obesity, as well as help lower blood pressure in some people,” he says.
Now you’re armed with the knowledge necessary to recognize the risk factors of this silent slayer. You can learn more about the risks and controlling heart disease in Dr. Rimmerman's book Heart Attack: A Cleveland Clinic Guide. And to get your diet, weight and exercise back on track. Don’t be another victim.
Resource: Dr. Curtis Mark Rimmerman, Cardiologist.
Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !
Wishing You Great Health!