Who is at risk of a heart attack?

Dr. Saeed Payvar, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

In this video, Saeed Payvar, MD, from West Valley Cardiology Services, says anyone who smokes or has diabetes, high blood pressure and family history of heart disease is at risk of a heart attack. Watch to see if you could be at risk.

The risk factors for heart attack include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, male gender and a family history of heart disease in a first-degree male relative younger than 55 and/or a female relative younger than 65. Some of those risk factors are reversible, including tobacco use, controlling your high blood pressure and treating your high cholesterol, but some cannot be changed (family history of premature heart disease and gender). And though diabetes treatment has been controversial, the newest studies with some of the newer agents have shown that using certain diabetic medicines may lower your risk for heart attack.

There are many things that can increase a person’s risk for a heart attack. Some of the risk factors are under your control. Risk factors that are within your control include smoking, lack of physical activity, obesity, illegal drug use, excessive alcohol use, and a stressful lifestyle. There are also specific diseases that increase the risk of a heart attack including high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary artery disease and high cholesterol. Your doctor may be able to help you control these diseases with lifestyle modification or medication. Then there are risk factors that are out of your control such as age (45 or older if you are male, 55 and older if you are a female) and family history.

Dr. Lee B. Taylor, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Traditional well-validated risk factors for a heart attack include older age, male sex, family history of heart artery disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes and tobacco abuse. All but the first three risk factors listed are modifiable with either a healthy lifestyle and/or medication.

The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Every year in the United States, 1.5 million individuals experience a heart attack. Heart disease (including heart attacks) is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The risk for men increases past the age of 45 and for women after menopause, past the age of 55. It is also common among all ethnic backgrounds.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.