Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
Which of these controllable risk factors do you have?
- I have diabetes
- I use tobacco products, or I am around people who smoke
- I am not physically activen I don’t eat healthfully
- I am not within 20 pounds of my recommended weight
I have high levels of LDL cholesterol (> 100 mg/dL), low levels of HDL
cholesterol (< 50 mg/dL), high levels of triglycerides (> 150 mg/dL)
or my total cholesterol is > 200 mg/dL
- My blood pressure is higher than 120/80 mm/Hg
- On average, I don’t get at least 8 hours of sleep each night
- I have a lot of stress in my life
CONTROLLABLE RISK FACTORS ARE OPPORTUNITIES
TO CREATE “HEALTH STRENGTHS!”
Do you have any of these uncontrollable risk factors?
- I already have heart disease
- My siblings or parents have cardiovascular disease
- I am African American or Hispanic
- I am 55 or older (women) or 45 or older (men)
- I have rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
- I had pregnancy complications, including the development of high blood
pressure or diabetes, or I delivered a preterm infant
These and other risk factors affect your personal lifetime risk for developing
heart disease, including heart attack, stroke, hypertension and diabetes.
The more risk factors you checked, the higher your risk of cardiovascular disease.
GOOD News: You have the power to control many of these factors, thus improving
your heart AND overall health.
Now that you understand more about heart disease, let''s talk about
how you can maintain good heart health.
The first step is to get a snapshot of your current heart health. Then,
you can compare your numbers with normal ranges (for people who don't
have heart disease or diabetes). As you and your doctor develop strategies
to implement heart healthy behaviors and minimize your personal risk factors,
you can track your progress using the chart below (click to open the image
to a larger size).
Work with your doctor for the appropriate testing. Together, you can fill
in the chart so you have a complete picture of your risk factors.
[click the image to open a larger version.
You can print that webpage using Ctrl+P (Windows) or Command+P (Mac)]
resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats in 1 minute when you are at rest.
Normally, your heart will beat between 60 and 100 times per minute. Unexplained
changes in your resting heart rate can indicate a possible heart condition.
Body mass index (BMI) is one way to determine if you are at a healthy weight. It’s based
on the ratio of your height to your weight. BMI does not distinguish between
women and men and does have limitations, so use it in conjunction with
other measurements for the most accurate assessment of your weight.
Many people carry most of their excess weight around their belly rather
than equally distributed throughout their body. This abdominal fat is
a risk factor for heart disease (even if you have a normal BMI). Your
waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio are quick ways to determine
your risk of heart disease.
Measure around your waist at its smallest point and your hips at their
widest. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement for your
Knowing about the diseases that run in your family will help you and your
doctor better understand your risk factors for heart disease.
Take some time to record health information about your parents, siblings,
children, grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles. Include your relationship
to the person, their ethnicity and race, cause of death if deceased, and
as much of their health history as you know (such as diseases and age
Record any known environmental or lifestyle risk factors (for example,
if the relative smoked or worked in a high-risk environment, such as a