Last updated on Jun 17th, 2021 at 01:50 pm

Cardiovascular diseases refer to conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels and include conditions such as angina, arrhythmia, heart attacks, heart failure, rheumatic fever, and other more rare conditions such as congenital disorders and inflammatory diseases.

While there’s no single cause of heart diseases, there are a number of factors that make people more likely to develop one of these conditions. Some of these, such as increasing age and family history, can’t be changed, while others can be worked on.

Modifiable risk factors include the following:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Poor diet high in unhealthy fats, refined carbohydrate and salt
  • LDL, HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • High alcohol intake
  • Being physically inactive
  • Depression and poorly managed stress levels

These risk factors work cumulatively, which means the more risk factors you have, the greater the risk of heart disease. Start by having your cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure checked if you have not done this recently. You can use The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s heart age calculator at www.heartage.co.za to punch in your details and learn more about you risk for heart disease.

Click here for tips on how to lower your risk of heart disease.

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