Risk factors are habits, traits or conditions that may increase a person's chance of developing atherosclerosis, a major cause of stroke, heart and vascular disease. Atherosclerosis is a slow process in which deposits of fat, cholesterol, and calcium build up inside the artery. Atherosclerosis cannot be cured. However, research shows that modifying your risk factors can prolong and improve the quality of your life. The key is to know your risk factors and to modify them. Talk with your health care providers to find ways to achieve this goal.
Risk factors for cardiac or vascular disease that cannot be changed include:
Risk factors that can be modified include:
Reducing your risk also means knowing the warning signs for heart attack and stroke.
Heart Attack Warning Signs
Stroke or Mini-stroke (TIA: transient ischemic attack)
Heart Attack and Stroke are Medical Emergencies
Not all of these signs occur in every attack. If you notice one or more of the signs, do not wait. Call 911 and get medical help right away.
For more information regarding the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, please call 312-NM-HEART (664-3278) or request a first time appointment online.