Teaching to Save Lives

Risk Factors

Factors that cannot be changed:

  • Heredity - cannot change your genetic background.
  • Sex - women have lower incidents of heart attack.
  • Race - African Americans have a 45 percent greater chance of high blood pressure.
  • Age - risks increase with age, however, one in four deaths occur under age 65.

 Factors that can be changed:

  • Smoking one pack of cigarettes a day increases heart attack rate by two times over a non-smoker and stroke rate by five times over a non-smoker.
  • Hypertension - (high blood pressure) is a major risk factor but with no specific symptoms.  One in three adults or 58,000 Americans have high blood pressure controlled by diet, exercise and medications.
  • Diet - high fat, high cholesterol foods cause plaque to collect on artery walls constricting blood flow.

 Other Factors

  • Obesity - obese middle aged men have a three times greater risk of heart attack.
  • Lack of exercise - regular aerobics exercise at least three times a week reduces your risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
  • Stress - A Type A personality, with a sense of urgency, drive and competitiveness, has a greater risk.