My family has a history of heart disease. Does that mean I will have it too?
A family history of heart disease does add to your risk factors. While we cannot change our family history, we can make lifestyle changesincluding exercise and a proper diet-- that will help lower our risk factors. Be sure to inform your physician about your familys history of heart disease and schedule regular check-ups. This will improve the chances of detecting any possible heart problems early.
Will I know if Im having heart problems?
Some people have obvious symptoms of heart disease -- such as chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heart beats. But it is quite possible to have heart problems and experience no symptoms at all. A simple blood test to check your cholesterol, or having your blood pressure checked and discussing your health history with your physician, will give you the information you need to decide whether or not you need further treatment.
What Are the Risk Factors for Heart & Circulatory Disease?
The total number of risk factors you have determines your overall risk of heart disease. Some risk factors can be controlled, and it has been proven that doing so will reduce the chances of heart and circulatory disease developing or worsening.
Risk factors include:
- Family history of heart disease.
- High cholesterol
- Gender and age: females 55 years or older or past menopause; males 45 years or older
- High blood pressure
- Low HDL (good) cholesterol