There are a number of factors that increase a person's chance for having a heart attack. These are known as risk factors. While not causes of a heart attack, risk factors play a significant role in the likelihood of someone having one. Commonly, these risk factors are separated into those that can be controlled and those that cannot. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances are of having a heart attack.
Because heart disease is the most common underlying cause of a heart attack, heart attack and heart disease risk factors are quite similar.
Heart attack risk factors include:
- High cholesterol levels, also known as hypercholesterolemia (see Cholesterol and Heart Attack)
- High blood pressure, also known as hypertension (see Effects of High Blood Pressure)
- Diabetes (see Diabetes Complications)
- Smoking (see Heart Attack and Smoking)
- Being overweight (see BMI Calculator for your ideal weight)
- Being physically inactive (see Heart Disease and Exercise)
- Age (risk increases for men at age 45 and for women at age 55)
- Family history of early heart disease (heart disease diagnosed in father or brother before age 55 or in a mother or sister before age 65)
- Having a personal history of heart disease, including:
(Click Heart Attack Risk to calculate your 10-year risk.)