4 Invisible risk factors you should know about
- Heredity is also known as family history. If your mother, father or sibling needed bypass surgery or a stent by 55 years old, this makes you high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
- Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop heart disease themselves.
- You are at higher risk of CVD if, someone in your family has diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Most people with a significant family history of heart disease have one or more other risk factors
Most people who die of coronary heart disease are 65 or older. While heart attacks can strike people of both sexes in old age, women are at greater risk of dying (within a few weeks).
Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women and men have heart attacks earlier in life.
When women reach the age of menopause, women’s death rate from heart disease increases. This is due to the lack of sufficient estrogen hormone. Even after menopause women’s risk for heart attack is less than that for men.
Many genetic groups are at higher risk than Caucasians. These groups include,
Risk is also higher among,
- Mexican decent-due to high rates of diabetes
- African decent-due to salt sensitivity leading to high blood pressure
- Indigenous-due to obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes
- Asian (including India)-due to second-generation obesity
Even after adjustment for factors related to socioeconomic differences, disparities in rates of heart disease and its risk factors persist, Dr. Lewis says. Nearly half of all black adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, compared with about one-third of all white adults.
Just as you can’t control your age, sex and race, you can’t control your family history. So, it’s even more important to treat and control any other modifiable risk factors you have. We’ll discuss that another time soon.