Health Tips

The risk factors for cardiovascular disease are diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, smoking, family history, obesity and stress.These factors should be checked every 90 to 120 days. A brief explainantion of these factors is given below:


Diabetes Mellitus is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, increasing its risk by about two to three times for men and three to five times for women. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in diabetic patients and approximately 25 percent of heart attack survivors have diabetes. Diabetes is a more potent risk factor in women as compared to men since diabetic women have twice the risk of a second heart attack compared to diabetic men.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Hypertension remains one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease even if the systolic/diastolic (upper/lower, normal = 120/80) blood pressures only slightly fall into the hypertensive range. The risk imposed by hypertension is substantially heightened if other risk factors are present.


Cholesterol in blood can be divided into two portions: bad cholesterol and good cholesterol. Bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) is harmful in the sense that it gets deposited in the blood vessels and subsequently blocks it. This compromises the blood flow to the heart or the brain if that particular vessel supplies any of these two organs. Good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) is beneficial for the circulatory system since it prevents the cholesterol deposition into the vessels and in fact returns it to the liver for proper metabolism and excretion. It is therefore important that the levels of bad cholesterol be kept below a certain value while the good cholesterol should be above a specific level in the blood.


Cigarette smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by about two to three fold. The risk is amplified by several times if the smoker carries other risk factors of cardiovascular disease. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable mortality, most of it due to cardiovascular disease. Cessation of smoking causes a precipitous fall in cardiovascular events. It is estimated that if a 35 year old quits smoking, he extends his survival by as much as 3 to 5 years. This is primarily due to a reduction in cardiovascular related events.

Family History

If the first degree relatives of a person suffer from cardiovascular disease, the chances of that person getting the same problem increase manifold. It becomes all the more important for that person to make specific target oriented efforts to avoid the development of other risk factors.


Obesity has also shown a h3 correlation with the risk of cardiovascular disease. While latest research also indicates that obesity might be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, its major effects are through the changes it causes in the metabolic pathways. It does so by increasing the chances of getting diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia.

Physical Inactivity

Physical inactivity roughly doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease. Even regular moderate intensity exercise causes significant reduction in risk. The potential ways in which physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease include an increase in good (HDL) cholesterol, decrease in blood pressure and reduction in obesity. In other words, it acts and lessens the extent of numerous other factors that can lead to disease.


Continuous stress on a person causes increased production of catecholamines (certain hormones) which in turn puts greater load on the heart and can lead to increased blood pressure and predisposing to atypical cardiovascular events.

Unbalanced Diet

An unbalanced diet consisting of high fat and cholesterol can lead to plaques in the coronary arteries. This can cause disruption of blood flow to the heart muscle, culminating in the death of the cardiac tissue. Lack of dietary fiber in the diet increases absorption of cholesterol from the gut resulting in a high blood cholesterol level.

Balanced Diet

Some useful information regarding a balanced diet is given below:

  • Eating fruits and vegetables three times a day or more reduces the risk of stroke and of dying from heart disease
  • A diet rich in pulses, such as lentils and chickpeas, significantly reduces the risk coronary heart disease
  • Eating fish regularly reduces heart disease risk in women with type 2 diabetes. Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the heart
  • Eating foods rich in folate decreases the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease
  • Drinking eight or more glasses of water a day leads to a decreased risk of dying from heart disease-but drinking other liquids such as coffee , juice or soft drinks increase the risk
  • And of course the bottom line is: Eat to live; don’t live to eat

Useful Tips

Some useful tips for a healthy heart:

  • Exercise - even moderate exercise is better than nothing
  • A better and balanced diet can improve or maintain your health
  • Control your weight
  • Try to stop smoking or at least decreasing the number of cigarettes smoked daily
  • Avoid stress as much as possible
  • Have your blood pressure monitored regularly
  • Check if you have diabetes. If yes, keep it controlled and undertake special precautions
  • Get your cholesterol level monitored regularly if you feel you are at risk
  • An overall checkup is recommended