What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Attack

What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Attack?

• Smoking. Cigarette smoke contains toxic chemicals that enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart. These chemicals lead to injuries to the endothelial cells of the blood vessels and induce endothelial dysfunction. Chemicals from the smoke can also increase inflammation, blood clot formation, and oxidation of LDL, leading to atherosclerosis and plaque formation, both of which are risk factors for heart attack.

• Hypertension. High blood pressure can lead to damage to the heart and vascular system. Leukocytes, triglycerides, and cholesterol adhere to the damaged arterial wall, causing atherosclerosis and plaque formation.

• High triglycerides. People with high blood triglyceride levels are at risk of heart attack. Triglycerides, together with cholesterol and oxidized LDL, participate in the formation of plaque and blood clots in damaged arterial walls.

• Hypercholesterolemia. Hypercholesterolemia or high LDL increases the risk of heart attack. Oxidized LDLs enter the endothelial layer of the blood vessel, where macrophages engulf oxidized LDLs to form enlarged foam cells. The death of foam cells releases cellular debris, including cholesterol and fats, in the endothelial layer and initiates plaque formation and atherosclerosis.

• Diabetes. A high blood glucose level is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis and blood clot formation. Insulin resistance also increases the risk of heart attack.

• Lack of exercise. Lack of physical activity can lead to diabetes and hypertension, both of which are known risk factors for heart attack. The benefits of regular physical exercise to the heart include improving endothelial functions and preventing plaque and blood clot formation.

• Obesity. Obesity induces hypertension, high LDL, high triglyceride levels, diabetes, inflammation, and blood clot formation, increasing the risk of heart attack.

• Stress. Excessive daily stress leads to overproduction of white blood cells. Under normal conditions, white blood cells fight against infections and accelerate wound healing. However, excessive white blood cells produced under stress may stick to the arterial wall and exacerbate plaque formation and atherosclerosis. Persistent stress is a risk factor for heart attack.