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News > Risks of Heart Disease for Men and Women
Risks of Heart Disease for Men and Women

Posted 2/3/2011   Updated 2/3/2011 Email story   Print story


by Christine Cooley
Health and Wellness Center

2/3/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- Editor's Note: February is Heart Month. This is part one of a three-part article series by the Health and Wellness Center about how to keep your heart healthy.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in America.
While changes in diet and exercise can impact your risks for the disease, there are some risk factors for heart disease you cannot change.

These risk factors include:

Aging: As you get older, risk for heart disease goes up

Gender: Typically, men have more heart attacks; however, women's mortality rates are greater

Family History: Have a close relative with heart disease, your chances are greater

Race: African Americans are at higher risk for heart disease

Previous Heart Attack: If you have already had a heart attack, you are at a greater risk of having a second

Despite these unchangeable risk factors, good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle play significant roles in keeping your heart healthy, reducing your controllable risks for heart disease.

Being overweight or obese, eating fatty foods, smoking cigarettes and being inactive put you at greater risk for heart disease. Cholesterol levels and blood pressure are also important.

These risks can be controlled through lifestyle changes and maintaining a healthy weight.

Learn more in the next two upcoming articles on how you can control your risk of heart disease by making smart food and lifestyle choices.

The following increases the chances of heart disease:
Unhealthy cholesterol levels
· High LDL "bad" cholesterol (greater than 100 mg/dL)
· High triglycerides (greater than 150 mg/dL)
· Low HDL "good" cholesterol (less than 60 mg/dL)
High blood pressure (greater than 120/80)

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