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Women: Know Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Step No. 3: Know Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease

There are a number of medical problems and lifestyle issues that can contribute to the development of heart disease. Some of these factors, like obesity, you can control, while others, like genetic predisposition, you cannot.

In many cases, lifestyle changes or medications can help decrease your risk for heart disease and early cardiac death.

To manage cardiac health, every woman should understand what her personal risk might be.

If you answer "yes" to three or more of the following questions, you should call your doctor immediately.

  • Do you have a family history of heart attack or heart disease (especially sudden cardiac death)?
  • Hypertension?
  • Diabetes?
  • Elevated cholesterol?
  • Are you postmenopausal?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Are you obese, or do you lead a sedentary lifestyle?
  • Are you often under heavy stress?
  • Do you have a prior personal history of heart disease or heart attack?

If you answered "yes" to more than three of these questions, you have a significant risk for developing coronary artery disease and you should talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risks.

Many of these risk factors can be changed by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Get guidance and support from your physician and from friends who have made heart-healthy changes in their lives.