What are the risk factors for CAD (Coronary Artery Disease)?

Risk factors for CAD include:

  • Heredity – parents, grandparents, uncles/aunts (blood related), siblings – if any of these people have CAD or a large number of risk factors for CAD you may also be at risk.
  • High Blood Pressure – If you have high blood pressure you are at greater risk for CAD.
  • High Cholesterol/Borderline High Cholesterol – high cholesterol has been associated with the building of plaque in coronary arteries – which is the cause of CAD.
  • Diabetes – Diabetes causes high blood pressure and strain on every organ system in your body.
  • Poor Diet – Foods high in trans or saturated fats, high in salt (sodium), or sugars, high in caffeine, high in cholesterol – all contribute to CAD.
  • Being Overweight or Obese – Obesity puts additional strain on your cardiovascular system and heart.
  • Lack of Physical Activity – Regular exercise is vital to a healthy heart. Lack of regular exercise can lead to worsening of risk factors such as high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
  • Smoking – Smoking is associated with several deadly diseases. Smoking limits how much oxygen is absorbed into your blood stream, increases blood pressure, and can increase cholesterol levels.
  • Stress – Research shows that the most commonly reported “trigger” for a heart attack is an emotionally stressful event, especially one involving anger. Stress increases blood pressure.
  • Alcohol Consumption – Heavy alcohol use can lead to high blood pressure and can damage heart tissue.
  • Sleep Apnea – Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which a person has pauses in breathing while they are sleeping or they breath shallow, reducing the amount of oxygen absorbed into the blood stream. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and heart attack.

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