There are some risks to your heart that you can’t control, such as your age, your gender (men carry a higher risk of a heart attack), your ethnicity (people from the Indian sub-continent carry a higher risk) and family history (if you have history of heart conditions in your family it is possible you could also experience one).
However, there are plenty of things you can control that will help reduce your risk of a heart condition.
- Diabetes – If you have diabetes you automatically carry a higher risk of a heart condition but managing your diabetes properly will reduce this risk.
- Smoking – smoking has a serious impact on your heart health and if you smoke you should stop now.
- High blood pressure – long-term high blood pressure can damage your heart muscle. Reducing your weight and stress can help reduce your blood pressure but if it is constantly high then you should seek medical advice as certain medications can help stabilize your blood pressure.
- High Cholesterol – an imbalance of cholesterol in your blood can lead to a heart attack – you can reduce your cholesterol by eating a healthy diet
- Being inactive – you can improve your heart health through regular exercise.
- Being overweight – carrying too much weight not only puts a strain on your heart but it is also connected to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and could lead to type 2 diabetes.
- Unhealthy diet – eating unhealthy foods will increase the amount of fatty deposits in your arteries and could lead to coronary heart disease. Be sure to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean proteins and legumes and avoid trans fats, saturated fats, salt and refined sugar.
- Stress or emotional problems – heart problems can be exacerbated by stress or emotional distress. If you are struggling with either of these issues then it is important to seek help.
One way to measure your current risk is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI). The chart below will help you to check whether you are within the healthy range or if you should reduce your weight.