Risk Factors for Heart Disease
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Following are factors that could put you at greater risk of developing heart disease or heart attack:
High Blood Pressure
Untreated high blood pressure increases the risk of coronary artery disease and other heart problems, and it is the most serious risk factor for stroke. More information on High Blood Pressure.
High levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood can damage the lining of the arteries and promote plaque buildup in blood vessels, possibly leading to serious cardiovascular problems. If you have a strong personal or family history of heart disease and do not have other controllable risk factors, such as smoking, discuss with your doctor whether homocysteine testing is right for you. More information on Homocysteine.
About one-quarter of American women have blood cholesterol levels that pose a serious risk for coronary heart disease (total cholesterol greater than 200). More information on Cholesterol.
A simple test measures the amount of protein that may be elevated when a severe infection or inflammatory condition is present. More information on C-Reactive Protein testing.
Diabetes increases the risk of coronary heart disease in women three- to seven-fold. Women with diabetes are more likely to have higher blood pressure, higher triglyceride levels, lower levels of good cholesterol and a weaker heart muscle. Diabetes may double the risk of death from coronary heart disease. More information on Diabetes.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT)
Some women use estrogen hormones after menopause, when the body gradually stops producing estrogen and the risk of developing heart disease steadily climbs. Talk to your doctor if you are currently taking a combination of estrogen and progesterone, or to find out if ERT is right for you. More information on ERT.