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Heart Attack – Understand the Risk Factors & Take Action Accordingly

Statistics say more than 1 million Americans suffer heart attacks every year. This surely is a staggering number.

The unfortunate part is many of them do not react quickly enough or go to a hospital in time.

As one doctor in a family medical walk-in clinic in Arlington rightly pointed out, “A delay in treatment can be disastrous. The person can lose his/her life”.

The best bet when a person suspects a heart attack is to call 911 at once for emergency assistance.

First of all, let us learn what a heart attack is.

A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart all of a sudden stops or gets blocked resulting in the heart getting deprived of oxygen.

If not attended to in time, the heart muscle fails to pump blood and begins to die.

Heart attacks are more prone to people having CAD or coronary heart disease.

In simple terms, CAD refers to the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries that could block blood supply to the heart.

Certain risk factors make people susceptible to heart attacks. These include:

Increasing age

If a person is over 65 years of age, heart attack risks are higher than those younger.

Genetic factors

You could be born with certain risk factors that cannot be altered. In such a scenario, the best approach is to concentrate on the risk factors that can be managed. For example, you can focus on keeping your weight under control, prevent diabetes by lifestyle changes, and also keep your lipids normal.

Male gender

People with a significant family history of heart disease seem to have more risk factors. Statistics say African Americans have a higher risk of heart disease than Caucasians.

Here is a list of major risk factors that you can modify.


Research has shown that smoking not only reduces life expectancy but also significantly increases the chances of a heart attack. There is consensus among medical professionals that cigarette smoking is strongly linked to cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death.

The good news is people who quit smoking reduced their risk of sudden cardiac death.

High blood cholesterol

If your blood cholesterol level goes up above normal levels, so do the chances of coronary heart disease. It is true that age and hereditary factors matter, but lifestyle changes can surely help in keeping cholesterol levels under control.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure enhances the heart’s workload resulting in thickening of heart’s muscles. The upshot is higher chances of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure.


It is well-known by now that people with excess body fat especially at the waist are more prone to heart disease. Learning to manage weight is the best answer to this issue.

Other risk factors include diabetes, emotional stress, consuming excess alcohol, and improper diet.

Keep in mind that you are never too young to worry about heart attack.

It can occur at any age. Prevention is critical and a sensible approach is to begin early in life.

If you do feel uneasy, your family medical walk-in clinic will evaluate you. If necessary, they will refer you to a specialist hospital for emergency treatment.

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