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Coronary Heart Disease (cont.)


Risk refers to the odds that something will occur, but there are no guarantees.

  • Having one or more risk factors does not mean heart disease is inevitable.
  • Similarly, absence of risk factors does not guarantee you will not have heart disease.

Monitoring and modifying certain risk factors is the best way to prevent coronary heart disease.

  • If possible, adopt a healthy lifestyle early in life.
  • Because risk factors are interrelated, many are present together in the same person.
  • Thus, moderate changes in one area of your life often reduce other risk factors at the same time.

You can't change some risk factors.

  • Age: Men older than 45 years and women older than 55 years are at increased risk for coronary heart disease.
  • Family history: If someone in your immediate family has had coronary heart disease, angina, or heart attack by age 55 years, your risk of developing heart disease is increased. If heart disease runs in the family, seek medical attention. Your health care provider may recommend screening tests and preventive measures.

You can change the following risk factors:

  • High blood fats, the bad LDL, good HDL, and triglycerides
  • Diet
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Emotional stress

High total cholesterol: Know your total cholesterol level and take measures to control it with diet and exercise if your levels are high. Your health care provider will check your levels and compare them with guidelines from the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP). Your total cholesterol levels are measured in your blood after a 9- to 12-hour fast. The following subtypes of cholesterol are important:

LDL cholesterol

  • Less than 100 - Optimal
  • 100-129 - Near optimal/above optimal
  • 130-159 - Borderline high
  • 160-189 - High
  • 190 or higher - Very high

Total cholesterol

  • Less than 200 - Desirable
  • 201-239 - Borderline high
  • 240 or higher - High

HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol)

  • Less than 40 - Low
  • 60 or higher - High (desirable)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/15/2015
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