Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. They are also a major cause of disability. There are many things that can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease - they are called risk factors. Some of them can not be controlled, but there are many that you can control. Knowing and controlling risk factors can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

What are the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases that can not be changed?

Family history

You have a higher risk if you have a close family member suffering from cardiovascular diseases at an early age.


The risk of developing cardiovascular diseases increases with age. Men aged 45 years and over, and women aged 55 years and over are at greater risk.

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Some risk factors may influence the risk of cardiovascular diseases different in women than in men. For example, estrogen offers women protection against cardiovascular diseases, but diabetes raises the risk of disease in women more than in men.

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Nationality or ethnicity

Some population groups have higher risks than others. African Americans are more likely than whites to suffer from cardiovascular disease, while Hispanic Americans are less susceptible.

What can you do to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases?

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease:

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is important that blood pressure is checked regularly - at least once a year for most adults and, more often, if you have high blood pressure.

Take measures, including lifestyle changes to prevent or control blood pressure in values below 140 / 90mmHg.

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High levels of cholesterol can clog arteries and can increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Lifestyle changes and medication (if necessary) can reduce cholesterol.

Triglycerides are another type of fatty acids from the blood. High levels of triglycerides may also increase the risk of coronary heart disease, especially in women.

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If you are overweight or obese, you will automatically increase the risk of heart diseases.

This predisposition is mainly due to the fact that they are related to other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high levels of cholesterol in the blood and triglycerides, hypertension and diabetes.

Weight control with a Body Mass Index between 20-25kg / m2 may reduce these risks.

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Try limiting saturated fats, high-sodium foods, and added sugars.

Eat a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The DASH Diet is an example of a food plan that can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, two things that can reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

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Exercise has many benefits for overall health, including strengthening the heart and improving circulation. They can also help you maintain a normal weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All this may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Medical recommendations are to perform at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week or at least 75 minutes of physical activity at high intensity.

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Excessive consumption of alcohol can increase blood pressure. Additional calories are added, which leads to weight gain. Both will increase the risk of heart diseases.

Men should not consume more than 30 grams of alcohol per day, and women should not consume more than 15 grams/day of alcohol (representing a glass of red wine).

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Smoking increases blood pressure and increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

If you do not smoke, do not start !!!

If you are a smoker, giving up will reduce your risk of developing heart diseases. You can talk to your doctor to help you find the best way to quit.

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Stress is linked to heart disease in many ways. It may increase blood pressure. Extreme stress can be a "trigger" of a heart attack. Also, some common methods of dealing with stress, such as overload, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking, are detrimental to the heart.

Some ways to control your stress include exercise, listening to music, concentrating on something calm or peaceful and meditation.

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Diabetes mellitus doubles the risk of heart disease. This is because, over time, increased blood sugar levels due to diabetes will damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control the heart and blood vessels.

It is important to test for diabetes and, if you have the disease, keep it under control with glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) between 6.5 and 7.5%.

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If you do not sleep enough, you increase the risk of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. These three things can increase the risk of heart disease.

Most adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

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