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Besides LDL cholesterol, what factors determine my risk of heart disease?

Americans are making progress against heart disease and have actually lowered the percentage of people killed by heart attacks since 1980. This improvement is largely due to less cigarette smoking and better blood pressure and cholesterol control, specifically with the help of new medications. These elements have made a bigger impact than even bypass surgery or stints in preventing heart attack deaths. These findings show that it's extremely important to be proactive about your heart health.

Everyone needs to have his or her cholesterol checked. If someone’s cholesterol is high, they of course should be put on the proper diet, but more and more people are starting cholesterol medications and aggressive cholesterol reduction. When it comes to heart disease, prevention is a much better alternative to a cure. The treatment for heart disease is to prevent it.
Michael J. Bloch, MD
Internal Medicine
In addition to the lipid abnormalities nicely outlined above, advanced age, high blood pressure, high blood sugar or diabetes, smoking, and a family history of heart disease are all risk factors that have been found to be associated with an increased incidence of heart attack and stroke.
Dean G. Karalis, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

In addition to high levels of LDL cholesterol there are several other risk factors that determine a person's risk of heart disease. They can be divided into those we can do something about such as high blood pressure, diabetes, being overweight and cigarette smoking and those we cannot change such as getting older and having a family history of heart disease. So to stay heart healthy we need to identify and treat those risk factors that we can do something about. Seeing your doctor on a regular basis and living a heart healthy lifestyle by eating healthy and exercising regularly will go a long way to reduce your heart disease risk.

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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.