There are both avoidable and unavoidable risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease. Some risks that people can work to avoid include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Poor diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
While these risk factors can decrease with lifestyle changes, certain risks are unavoidable and can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease through no fault of the patient’s own.
Unavoidable risk factors include:
With age comes wisdom and, unfortunately, occasional health complications. Cardiovascular disease is no exception. According to a 2018 report from the American Heart Association, women who have experienced a heart attack do so by 72 years on average. For men, the age is 65.
The risk factor for cardiovascular disease may increase with age, but that does not mean a person is guaranteed to have a heart attack the older they become. By living a healthy lifestyle and staying active, older people can also reduce their chance of a heart attack or developing heart and circulatory complications.
2. Family History
Those whose families have a history of heart attacks can consider their genetic makeup a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Family history is most likely to affect a person whose immediate family members experience cardiovascular disease at an age below the average.
For example, if the average age of the first heart attack for women is 72 and for men is 65, then a person may have a higher risk due to family history if their mother or father has a heart attack at 50.
People should also consider their family’s history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, as these conditions can also increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Historically, cardiovascular disease has been considered a disease that primarily affects men. However, the medical community has since understood that women are also at risk for it, primarily due to their hormonal changes post-menopause. Women who develop cardiovascular disease usually do so several years after their male counterparts.
People of certain ethnicities, specifically those of South Asian, African, or Caribbean descent, are at greater risk for developing heart disease than others. That does not imply that people in different ethnic groups are safe from heart attacks. It only means the condition is more common among South Asian, African, or Caribbean descendants.
No matter your age, sex, family history, or race, people can take steps to combat this risk factor and prevent heart or circulatory issues by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.