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Risk Factors

Risk Factor Profile for Heart Attacks

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Age
    • - Baby Boomers (1946 - 1964)
    • - 78 million Americans
    • - Largest at risk group ever
  • Gender
  • Family History
  • Ethnicity

Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Metabolic Syndrome

If you have  of one or more of these factors, you must be  risk- stratified to assess your chances of having a heart attack.

See your health care professional to be evaluated.


High cholesterol



An accurate measurement of your size is the 
body mass index (BMI), which is calculated from a person's age, height, and weight

What is your BMI?

Go to this website and try the BMI calculator

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute define overweight as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2, or about 10 to 20% over a person’s ideal body weight, approximately 10 to 30 pounds.

Obesity is defined as a BMI over 30.0 kg/m2, or about 20% (25% in women) or more, about 30 pounds over a person’s ideal body weight.

Extreme obesity is defined as a BMI of 40.0 or more.


According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults 18 and older need 40 minutes of physical activity on five or more days a week to be healthy; children and teens need 60 minutes of activity a day for their health. 

Thirty seven percent of adults report they are not physically active.
Only three out of ten adults get the recommended amount of physical activity. 

Thirty two percent of American students exercise for more than two hours per week!!!

The Metabolic Syndrome

This is basically the end result of the combination of some or all of all the risk factors that we have just discussed.

Its definition is variable depending on who you read.

A well accepted one, is from
The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 

They recommend that the metabolic syndrome be identified as the presence of three or more of these

      Elevated waist circumference:

  •   Men — Equal to or greater than 40 inches (102 cm)
  •    Women — Equal to or greater than 35 inches (88 cm)

  • Elevated triglycerides
  •   Equal to or greater than 150 mg/dL

  • Reduced HDL (“good”) cholesterol:
  •    Men — Less than 40 mg/dL 
  •    Women — Less than 50 mg/dL 

  • Elevated blood pressure:
  •    Equal to or greater than 130/85 mm Hg 

  • Elevated fasting glucose:
  •    Equal to or greater than 100 mg/dL 

Image source:  The New Yorker.

Tobacco Use

About 440,000 people die prematurely from smoking-related diseases every year in the US.

Men lose 13.2 years of life as a result of smoking.

Women lose 14.5 years as a result of smoking.

Every day more than 3,000 young people become regular smokers. 

That is more than one million new smokers every year. 

Smoking has severe economic consequences, estimated at a  $53.7 billion in total annual costs. 

The tobacco industry sells $100 billion of product every year

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