Heart attacks are the number one killer of people in the United States, according the the National Institute of Health (NIH). A heart attack occurs when oxygenated blood is blocked and cannot reach the heart. Without a quick restoration of oxygen to the heart, a section of it cannot function. 

According to the article, “Younger Women Are More Likely Than Men to Die of a Heart Attack – And the Reason Why Is Totally Preventable,” eleven percent more women than men said they were told that they were at risk for a heart attack. Knowing about the risk factors and knowing that one has risk factors for a heart attack can help prevent serious complications or death. Lowering one’s risk by changing lifestyle habits can be beneficial to surviving a heart attack. Those who are in groups that are higher risk include diabetics, those with high cholesterol, those with hypertension, the obese, and smokers. 

People with diabetes are at least twice as likely as those who do not, to have a heart attack, according to the NIH. The reason for this increased risk is that high blood sugars can leave fatty deposits in blood vessels that, over time, can block blood vessels. Blocked blood vessels affect blood flow and can lead to arteriosclerosis.

Individuals with High cholesterol
There are different types of cholesterol that act differently in the blood vessels of the body. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that can build up in blood vessels if levels are too high. LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, can build up inside your blood vessels thus narrowing the passageways for blood to travel through. Over time, vessels can become blocked. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk of getting heart disease. HDL cholesterol, “good” cholesterol, helps remove the fatty deposits from the blood vessels, and takes them to the liver for removal. Thus low levels of HDL cholesterol are a risk factor for heart disease.

Individuals with Hypertension
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a risk factor for a heart attack because it makes the heart work harder. When your heart works harder, it becomes stressed and damages blood vessels. Both issues are not favorable and can lead to heart disease and heart attack.

Those Who Are Obese
Obesity creates a number of problems that can lead to heart attack. Abdominal fat, especially, increases the production of LDL, or bad cholesterol, which, as previously discussed, itself is a risk factor for heart disease. In addition, when a person is obese, they are more likely to have hypertension and diabetes, both additional risk factors.

Smoking can damage the blood vessels in the body, along with many other adverse effects. Just damaging the blood vessels, however, is a risk factor for heart attacks because it can disturb the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart.

While risk factors for heart attacks can be reduced, one should always still be aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Quick action and treatment can help save the life of a person who experiences a heart attack. Taking care of yourself before, during, and after a heart attack are key to surviving a heart attack. Women will be more likely to survive if they know the risk factors that pertain to them and do the best possible job of reducing those risk factors.