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Risk Factors For Coronary Artery Disease

Even after having heart bypass surgery you are still at risk of developing coronary artery disease. It is your responsibility to modify your lifestyle to reduce your risk factors. This will minimize the chances of having repeated surgery which is the primary focus of our Cardiac Rehabilitation program.

Risk factors for heart disease include:

Smoking – Smoking is a major risk of coronary artery disease and death. Smoking constricts coronary arteries, elevates blood pressure and effects your heartbeat. We strongly encourage you not to smoke. It may not be easy to stop due to addiction to nicotine and the habit associated with smoking. You are the only person who can stop. Information and help is available, ‘please ask the staff.

Physically inactive – Lack of exercise is associated with being overweight and unfit. Exercise should be a minimum of 20 – 30 minutes most days. You need to gradually increase the amount that you exercise and ensure you exercise regularly.

♥ High Blood Cholesterol and Fats – This is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease. You need to eat a diet that is low in fat and cholesterol. Medication may also help to lower your cholesterol in association with low fat/cholesterol diet. Exercise may be beneficial. A high cholesterol level will not make you feel unwell. You need to have your cholesterol level monitored at regular intervals.

♥ Overweight – Coronary heart disease such as angina or heart attack is more common in overweight people. People become overweight because they eat too much and exercise too little. Overweight people commonly develop high blood pressure, elevated blood fat levels, diabetes and poor exercise and diet habits, which are all risk factors for coronary heart disease.

♥ High Blood Pressure – Will increase the pressure on the artery walls and heart. This pressure increases the risk of coronary artery disease. High blood pressure does not necessarily make you feel unwell. Each time you go to a Doctor you should have your blood pressure checked. Treatment for blood pressure may include weight reduction, regular exercise, medications, salt restriction and smoking cessation.

♥ Diabetes (high sugar in the blood) – Increases your chances of coronary artery disease. It is very important that your blood sugar level is controlled and kept within normal limits.

Other risk factors:

Mental Stress – In small amounts stress is beneficial. Stress becomes a problem when it gets out of control. Relaxation techniques and stress management is helpful.

A Family History of heart disease – If someone in your family (for example your parents) has a history of heart disease, your risk for developing heart disease will be increased.

Gender –More men than women are likely to develop coronary artery disease. Although the difference becomes less with increasing age.

All of us, not just individuals with coronary artery disease can benefit by living a healthy lifestyle. Information and advice is available on risk factors. Please ask the staff for further information.