So are you out shoveling snow in the cold? Do you know when you are most likely to have a heart attack? Do you know what puts you at risk for having a heart attack or dying of coronary artery disease? Did you know that many of the risk factors are modifiable and thus having a family history of heart disease may not be able to be changed, but many others may allow you to prevent you from developing one? Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US (not too far behind is cancer) and it is heart month, so I thought I would share some simple information with you that you should know. Especially because you can do something about most of it. At the bottom, there is a very easy to use cardiac risk calculator which not only tells you where you rank on a number of risk factors, but also tells you what goals you can aim for. Happy heart month!
Cardiac risk factors:
- High blood pressure ( greater than 130/85)
- High blood cholesterol (Women: total cholesterol higher than 200; HDL lower than 50; triglycerides greater than 150) Men: total cholesterol higher than 200: HDL cholesterol lower than 40; triglycerides higher than 150)
- Diabetes and pre-diabetes – glucose greater than 100
- Being overweight (BMI 25-29) or obese (BMI above 30) and waist measurement of greater than 35 inches in women and 40 inches for men
- Being physically inactive
- Having a family history of early heart disease (close male relative before age 55; close female relative before age 65)
- Having a history of pre-eclampsia during pregnancy
- Unhealthy diet
- Age (55 or older for women)
Calculate your risk of heart attack or dying of coronary artery disease in the next ten years:
Heart attacks are three times as likely to occur in the last phases of sleep and in the early waking hours. Heart attacks that occur then are also likely to be more serious.
Sudden heavy exertion especially in the cold, such as shoveling snow, increase the risk for heart attacks. Here are some tips and more information on warning signs of a heart attack: