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What are the Different Coronary Risk Factors?

Article Details
  • Written By: Steve R.
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 21 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Coronary risk factors are particular behaviors, traits, and routines that could lead to coronary disease. Some of the factors a person can control include not smoking, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and regular exercise coupled with a healthy diet. Factors a person has no control over include aging and family history. If someone wants to lower his or her chance for coronary disease, he or she can try to modify the coronary risk factors he or she does have power over.

Aging is part of life and as a person has more birthdays, the chance for heart disease increases. Also, a man is more likely than a woman to have coronary disease. Genetics can play a factor — someone with a history of heart disease in the family is more apt to suffer from coronary disease. Minorities are more likely to be at risk, as well.

Typically, a risk factor that a person has the ability to change is to give up smoking tobacco. The intake of tobacco can lower the amount of oxygen in a person's blood, which can cause damage to internal organs such as the heart. Smoking can also speed up the growth of plaque in a person's arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. Even being exposed to second-hand smoke has the potential for placing a person at risk for coronary disease.

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Hypertension and high levels of cholesterol from a person's diet are coronary risk factors that can be managed. If a person eats a great deal of red meat and foods high in sodium, cholesterol levels can be elevated to a dangerous level where coronary disease may occur. High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder as there is more force being exerted on the walls of blood vessels. Being physically active can assist with keeping blood cholesterol levels in check and lowering hypertension.

Being overweight is an additional coronary risk factor. If a person is overweight he or she is more likely to put a strain on the heart. Exercise can aid a person to shed pounds while lowering the coronary risk factors.

Stress can also lead to coronary disease. While stress itself may not be all bad, it's how a person handles stress that may put him or her at risk. Someone dealing with stress will usually cause his or her heart to race faster while blood pressure increases. Decisions a person makes while under stress can complicate his or her health, as well. A person dealing with stress may opt to deal with it by indulging in bad habits, such as overeating or smoking tobacco.

A person who overindulges in alcohol can also be in jeopardy of coronary disease. Too much alcohol can lead to hypertension and stroke. Alcohol intake can also produce irregular heartbeats and lead to obesity.

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