Heart Attack Risk Factors

When assessing your risk of having a heart attack, it’s important to know there are factors you can control and others you can’t.

What causes a heart attack? Know the related culprits that could increase your risk.

Some, such as age, are fixed. But others related to diet and exercise, among other things, can be modified.

In either case, it’s important to know the elements that may contribute to a heart attack – which occurs when the arteries that carry oxygen and nutrients to the heart become blocked, severely limiting or cutting off blood supply.

Knowing and addressing these risk factors is crucial: About 790,000 Americans experience a heart attack each year (roughly one every 40 seconds), the American Heart Association says.

Of that total, 114,000 will die. That’s part of the 800,000 annual deaths tied to cardiovascular disease – which claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

Get to know these common heart attack culprits to keep your ticker in top shape.

7 Surprising Things That Can Hurt Your Heart [Infographic]

Heart disease can be related to many sources. Here are several you might not expect.

Most people know that smoking isn’t a heart-healthy habit.

Nor is a diet rich in fatty foods – or consecutive days spent planted on the sofa to binge-watch a new favorite show. Whether because of lifestyle or genetics, culprits such as diabetes or a high cholesterol level also play a role in one’s cardiovascular health.

In addition, many other things can be toxic to your ticker. Some of them might surprise you.

Consider these factors to help evaluate your own risk, and always talk to your doctor about your concerns.

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