Risk factors are things that make you more likely to have a disease or condition. Do you know the risk factors for heart disease? You can’t do anything about some risk factors. But you can control others. Know what puts you at risk for heart disease. Learn what changes can help control your risk. Then start with one change that you think might be easiest for you.
Risk factors you can't control
You can’t change any of the risks listed below. Check off the ones that apply to you. The more you check, the higher your risk. Focus on the things that you can change.
___ You have a father or a brother younger than age 55 or a mother or sister younger than age 65 who has had heart disease.
___ You're a man.
___ You are age 65 or older.
Race or ethnicity
___ Your background is African American, white non-Hispanic, Mexican American, American Indian, native Hawaiian, or Asian American.
Risk factors you can control
There are plenty of risk factors for heart disease that you can control. Learn what these risk factors are. Then find out how to lower your risk. Check the ones that apply to you.
___ Do you smoke cigarettes or cigars, use e-cigarettes, chew tobacco, or dip snuff? Are you exposed to secondhand smoke on a regular basis?
Your cholesterol level
___ Have you been told that your cholesterol levels or triglycerides are unhealthy? Is your “good” cholesterol (HDL) level low? Is your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) level high?
Your blood pressure
___ Have you been told that your blood pressure is higher than it should be?
Your blood sugar level
___ Have you been told that your blood sugar level is higher than it should be? Is your A1C 6.5% or higher?
How active you are
___ Are you inactive most of the time at work and at home? Do you go weeks without exercising or doing any physical activity?
What you eat
___ Do you eat a lot of salty, fatty, fried, or greasy foods? Do you eat mostly red meat? Do you drink lots of sodas and other sweet beverages? Do you often grab fast food or prepared meals on the go? Do you eat few or no fruits and vegetables?
___ Has your provider said that you are overweight or obese? Is your waist measurement 35 inches or more if you are a woman or 40 inches or more if you are a man?
___ Do you drink more than 1 drink a day if you are a woman or more than 2 drinks a day if you are a man?
Your stress level
___ Do you often feel anxious, nervous, and stressed? Do you feel that you don't have support in your life?