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What are the CHD risk factors I can control?

High Blood Pressure and Stress

High blood pressure. Having high blood pressure causes your heart to work harder than it should. Here are some of the problems high blood pressure may cause.

  • Over time, it can enlarge your heart and make your heart unable to pump enough blood to all parts of your body.
  • It strains the arteries, which damages the artery walls. This damage puts your arteries at risk for the buildup of plaque that causes atherosclerosis.
  • It may contribute to heart attacks, strokes, eye disease called retinopathy, and kidney failure.

If you don't know your blood pressure, have it tested. Work with your doctor to keep it in a healthy range.

Stress and unhealthy responses to it. Some health experts believe that too much stress over time may cause health problems. Unhealthy responses to long-term stress may also cause health problems. These problems may include heart disease. Unhealthy responses to stress may include smoking, overeating, and using drugs or alcohol. It's hard to measure your response to stress. If you think you may need help dealing with stress in healthier ways, ask your doctor for guidance.