Prevention & Risk Factors

Early Heart Attack Care


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Facts about heart and vascular disease

  • Heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, is the leading cause of death in the United States.
  • One in 20 Americans over the age of 50 has peripheral artery disease, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • One life is lost to heart disease every 30 seconds.
  • 300,000 people suffer heart attacks every year without warning or symptoms.
  • 45 percent of all heart attacks -- one-third of which are fatal -- occur to people between the ages of 45 and 65.
  • 44 percent of women who have heart attacks die within a year.
  • 30 percent of heart disease patients have no obvious risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or a family history of heart attacks.

Risk factors for heart and vascular disease

  • Cigarette smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight by 20 percent or more
  • Physical inactivity
  • High cholesterol
  • High levels of stress leading to anger and depression
  • Family history of heart attacks
  • High homocysteine levels

Non-traditional risk factors for heart and vascular disease

  • Personal or family history of cardiovascular disease 
  • Personal or family history of heart attack, stroke or Type 2 diabetes  
  • Diabetes (risk factor for heart attack and stroke)  
  • Gestational diabetes  
  • Elevated cholesterol  
  • Nicotine use in any form  
  • Secondary exposure to nicotine use (such as second-hand smoke) 
  • Psychosocial issues such as depression, anxiety or stress 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Abdominal obesity  
  • Sleep problems 
  • Age (men older than 40 and women older than 50) 
  • Gum disease  
  • Erectile dysfunction  
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Lupus 
  • Psoriasis 
  • Migraine headaches 
  • Gout 
  • Polycystic ovaries 
  • Hirsutism (facial hair growth in women)  
  • Oligomenorrhea (changes in menstrual cycles) 
  • Hispanic or African-American descent 
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Pre-eclampsia  
  • Breast cancer treatment