There are many risk factors for heart attacks. Some of these risk factors are genetic, while others are lifestyle related. In addition to risk factors like family history and smoking, there are certain diseases and conditions that have been shown to increase the odds of a heart attack. Many of these diseases are themselves lifestyle related and can be avoided by making health conscious decisions.
One disease that is often linked with heart attacks is diabetes. Diabetes is a long term condition. There are different kinds of diabetes, namely type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is the rarer of the two, accounting for roughly 10% of diabetics. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce any insulin. Patients with type 1 diabetes are known as insulin-dependent and are required to take insulin for their entire lives. Type 2 diabetes is when the body produces some, but not enough, insulin. Type two is much more common and requires patients not only to watch their diet and exercise, but to regularly check their blood sugar levels. It is thought that type 2 diabetes is often developed as a result of poor diet and exercise. People with diabetes are at an increased risk for heart attacks. In fact, research indicates that people with diabetes are just as likely to have a heart attack as someone who has already had one. People with diabetes are also twice as likely to die from a heart attack. This increased risk not only for a heart attack, but a fatal heart attack, must be taken seriously. The increased risk factor is the same for people with type 1 or 2 and does not vary based on age. Many of the risk factors for heart disease are the same as those for diabetes. To protect against both, it is recommended that you keep a close eye on diet, exercise and alcohol consumption, and that you quit smoking immediately.
Obesity is often linked with heart attacks for various reasons. An obese person often does not have a healthy diet. They may have a diet that is high in cholesterol, leading to plaque buildup in the arteries. People who are obese often do not exercise enough, or at all. Lack of physical activity increases the odds of a heart attack significantly. Obesity may also be associated with heart attacks due to the correlation between obesity and diabetes. People who are obese are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, which considerably increases the risk for heart attacks.
Pneumonia has also been found to increase the risk for heart attacks, especially in older patients. Studies suggest that people hospitalized with pneumonia are at an increased risk for a heart attack even years after the fact. This increased risk is thought to be the result of inflammation of the heart and blood vessels often caused by pneumonia. Other diseases and conditions often linked with heart attacks include high blood pressure, low blood pressure, blood clots, stroke and congestive heart failure.