Heart disease is a prevalent condition for many people. We should all know how to assess our risk of heart disease. We know a lot more about heart disease than our parent’s generation knew. This makes it possible to determine the risks, and to take preventive measures to reduce our risk of heart disease.
Genetics and family history play a role in determining our risk of heart disease. A larger factor for many people, however, is lifestyle choices.
You can begin your heart disease risk assessment by answering the following questions.
(1) Are you a smoker?
(2) What is your total and HDL cholesterol levels?
(3) What is your blood pressure?
(4) Are you diabetic or do you have diabetes symptoms?
(5) Are you overweight?
(6) Do you have close relatives who have suffered from premature heart disease?
Assessing Your Risk Of Heart Disease
The information gathered by answering all the questions above will allow you to assess your risk for heart disease. All individuals fall into one of three categories; low risk, intermediate risk, or high risk.
Low Risk Group
People with a low risk for heart disease are nonsmokers. Their total cholesterol level is less than 200 mg/dL, and their HDL cholesterol level is greater than 40 mg/dL. Low risk individuals have no history of heart disease in their family history. They are not overweight, and they have no evidence of diabetes.
Individuals who are in the low risk category do not require medical attention, intervention, to reduce their risk of heart disease. You simply need to maintain a healthy lifestyle with healthy nutrition and exercise. About 35% of adults in the United States are in the low risk category for heart disease.
High Risk Group
High risk individuals have known coronary artery disease or some other type of vascular diseases. They may also have type 2 diabetes. Individuals over the age of 65 who have several risk factors also fall into the high-risk category.
About 25% of adults in the United States fall into the high risk category for heart disease. If you are in the high risk category, you need to seek a doctor’s guidance and counsel to reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. A doctor will determine the best course of action and medical treatments for your particular case. In addition to encouraging you to improve bad lifestyle habits, the doctor may prescribe specific medications to control hypertension and other risk factors for heart disease. The doctor may also suggest a stress/hallium study to evaluate your coronary artery health. .
Intermediate Risk Group
Individuals fall into the intermediate risk group by default. It you are not in the low risk or high risk category, you are in the intermediate category for heart disease risk assessment. About 40% of adults in the United States fall into this category. If you are in the intermediate group, you should consider the factors are keeping you from being in the low risk category. Each of us is different, and you should discuss health and lifestyle with your doctor. Some of the factors responsible for heart disease are things that we cannot control. The majority of factors, however, are due to lifestyle choices and bad habits.
Michael Smith is a keen health blogger and often contributes to various online publications, offering assistance to people with health issues.