Who is at risk?
The leading controllable risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (particularly heart disease and stroke) are:
High blood pressure
- The precursor of developing heart attack and stroke
- It results when blood places an excessive amount of force against the walls of blood vessels
- Gives extra burden to heart and kidneys
- Weakens blood vessels in the brain
Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2 diabetes)
- High levels of total cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins), and low levels of HDL increase risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
- The risk of cardiovascular diseases is 2-3 times higher in people with DM
- In some age groups, people with diabetes have a two-fold increase in the risk of stroke
- The risk of developing CVDs is higher in smokers, especially in people who started young
- Passive smoking is of additional risk
Overweight or Obesity
- Can be defined as less than five times of 30- min of moderate activity per week
- Increases risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%
- Obesity is strongly related to major cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and dyslipidaemia
- High dietary intakes of saturated fat, trans-fats and salt or low intake of fruits, vegetables and fish are linked to cardiovascular risk.
There are some risk factors that cannot be modified. People in these high-risk categories should receive regular check-ups.
- Advancing Age: As a person gets older, the heart undergoes subtle physiological changes and may work less efficiently; risk of stroke doubles every 10 years after age 55.
- Gender: Higher rates of coronary heart disease among men compared with women (premenopausal age); risk of stroke is similar for men and women.
- Family history: Increased risk if 1st degree relatives have coronary heart disease or stroke before 55-year old (for a male relative) or 65-year old (for a female relative).
- Race: Increased cardiovascular disease deaths noted for South Asians and American Blacks in comparison with Whites.