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Heart Attack and Unstable Angina (cont.)

What Increases Your Risk

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the major cause of heart attacks. So the more risk factors you have for CAD, the greater your risk for unstable angina or a heart attack. The main risks for CAD are:

Use the heart attack risk calculatorClick here to see an interactive tool. to estimate your risk of having a heart attack over 10 years.

Women and heart disease

Women have unique risk factors for heart disease, including hormone therapy and pregnancy-related problems. These things can raise a woman's risk for a heart attack or stroke.

See the topic Women and Coronary Artery Disease for more information on risk, symptoms, and prevention of heart disease.

C-reactive protein (CRP)

A type of protein in your blood may help find your risk of a heart attack. This protein is called a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). It is found with a C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test. This test may help find your risk for a heart attack, especially when it is considered along with other risk factors such as cholesterol, age, blood pressure, and smoking. But the connection between high CRP levels and heart disease risk is not understood very well.

NSAIDs

Most nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are used to relieve pain and fever and reduce swelling and inflammation, may increase the risk of heart attack. This risk is greater if you take NSAIDs at higher doses or for long periods of time. People who are older than 65 or who have existing heart, stomach, or intestinal disease are more likely to have problems. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Aspirin, unlike other NSAIDs, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. But it also carries the risks of serious stomach and intestinal bleeding as well as skin reactions. Regular use of other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, may make aspirin less effective in preventing heart attack and stroke.

For information on how to prevent a heart attack, see the Prevention section of this topic.

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eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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