A person has a family history of heart disease if his/her father (or any other male in the family) had his first cardiovascular event before turning 55-years-old or if his/her mother (or other female in the family) had her first cardiovascular event prior to age 65.
High Blood Pressure.
High blood pressure (“Hypertension”) is not only a risk factor for heart attacks, but also the #1 risk for strokes. High blood pressure is defined as a reading of 140/90. Blood pressures between 120-130/80-89 is considered Pre-Hypertension.
Diabetes is the #1 risk factor for heart disease.
Cholesterol has 3 components: 1) Total cholesterol, 2) HDL (‘good cholesterol’) and 3) LDL (‘bad cholesterol’). Total cholesterol should be below 240 mg/dl. HDL cholesterol (‘good’ cholesterol’) is considered normal in men if it’s above 40mg/dl and for women above 55mg/dl. For both men and women, LDL (‘bad cholesterol’) is abnormal if it is greater than 160 mg/dl. However, the optimum treatment for LDL will vary depending on the patient’s individual situation.
There are several other factors that may come into play, including being over 55-years of age, inactivity, obesity and alcohol use.
While certain risk factors cannot be changed, it is important to realize that you do have control over many others.