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Who is most at risk for a heart attack?

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Heart attacks are notoriously sudden and are known to affect people regardless of age, ethnicity or gender. There is no such thing as immunity from a heart attack. While it is true that anyone can suffer a heart attack, there are certain factors that increase the odds of heart disease. It all comes down to knowing the risks, and taking all possible preventative measures to reduce your odds of having a heart attack.

Age has long been known to be a risk factor for heart attacks. While the exact age is different for men than it is for women, it is well known that people over the age of 50 are at an increased risk for heart attacks. This increased risk is not lifestyle related and therefore cannot be avoided. There are precautions you can take, however, to help counteract age. While people over 50 are more likely to suffer a heart attack, this does not mean that younger people need not worry. Heart attacks can happen at any age.

Gender plays a significant role in determining risk factor for heart attacks. Years ago, men were more likely both to develop heart disease, and to die from it. In recent years, however, more women die of heart disease than men. In America, heart disease kills more women than any other disease. To help decrease your risk of a heart attack or stroke, it is important to be extra diligent in maintaining your health, and to know the increased risks specific to your gender.

Race has been shown to have an impact on the likelihood of suffering a heart attack. African Americans are significantly more likely to develop heart disease than a non-Hispanic white person would be. There are large discrepancies in the rates of heart disease between different races and ethnicities. In fact it has been shown that minorities are more likely to be at risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

People who smoke cigarettes do so at a huge risk to their health. Studies find that people who smoke cigarettes are an extraordinarily increased risk for heart disease and heart attack. Smoking cigarettes is not only terrible for your heart but for your lungs. In addition to heart disease, smoking cigarettes increases the risk of certain cancers and strokes.

High cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. Individuals with high cholesterol are largely unaware of this fact, as high cholesterol in and of itself has few if any symptoms. By the time a person realizes their cholesterol levels may be too high, it might be too late to do anything about it. In order to avoid being taken by surprise, it is recommended that you check cholesterol levels regularly, at least every couple of years.

High blood pressure is another condition that is known to sneak up on you. Much like cholesterol, high blood pressure is largely symptomless. Regular testing of your blood pressure is yet another measure you can take to protect against heart attacks.

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