Am I at risk of coronary heart disease?

There is no single cause of coronary heart disease but the good news is you can prevent it.

There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chance of developing coronary heart disease, also known as ischemic heart disease. Knowing what factors can increase your chance of heart disease can help you to prevent it.

Risk factors

You may be at risk of coronary heart disease if you:

  • have raised cholesterol
  • have high blood pressure
  • are older
  • smoke
  • have diabetes
  • are obese or overweight
  • are post menopausal
  • are inactive
  • have a family history of heart disease.

Some risk factors don’t have obvious symptoms. For example, if you have high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure, you may not have any symptoms so you may not know you’re at risk of coronary heart disease. So it’s a good idea to visit your doctor regularly for a check up.

What’s your risk score?

The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances are of developing coronary heart disease.

Your doctor can calculate your likelihood of getting it as a percentage that estimates your chances of having a heart attack or stroke within the next five years.

How can I reduce my risk of coronary heart disease?

Older man playing hopscotch with grandson

It may sound obvious, but changing your lifestyle to improve your health is the best way to reduce your chance of developing coronary heart disease.

If you think you’re at risk, talk to your doctor about what changes you need to make.

While there are things you can’t change (such as your family history and your age), here are some things that you can do to help reduce your risk:

  • Eat a healthy low-fat, low-salt diet.
  • Cut down on alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Keep active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight for you.

If you think you’re at risk of coronary heart disease, or want to know more about how coronary heart disease is diagnosed and treated, make an appointment with your doctor.

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