A risk factor is something that increases your chance of
getting a disease. The more risk factors for coronary heart
disease you have, the greater your chance of developing it.
The good news is that for most risk factors, you can do
something about it.
Reducing your risk
You can help to reduce the impact of some risk factors by
making changes to your lifestyle, and also by taking any medicines
prescribed by your doctor. There are several risk factors for
coronary heart disease and stroke. The main ones are shown
Over 40? Get a health check
Also called a heart health
assessment or cardiovascular risk
assessment, a health check is an assessment carried
out by your GP or practice nurse to find out your risk of coronary
heart disease, and available to anyone over 40.
Based on your results, your GP or nurse
will advise you on what you can do to keep your heart healthy, and
consider treatment - such as medicine to protect your heart.
The following factors may also increase your risk of developing
coronary heart disease or having a stroke:
- People on lower incomes are more exposed to
the risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke, and are
less likely to make healthy lifestyle choices.
- Stress is not a direct risk factor for
cardiovascular disease, but it’s possible that it may contribute
depending on your coping mechanism. Some people cope with stress with risky behaviour – such as
smoking, drinking too much alcohol and overeating. These increase
your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Drinking more than the recommended limits can
have a harmful effect on the heart.It can cause
abnormal heart rhythms,
high blood pressure, damage to the heart muscle and
other diseases such as stroke, liver problems and some
cancers. Alcohol is
also high in calories so it can lead to weight gain. If you are
lose weight, cut down on alcohol.