It’s all too easy to think that we are not at a risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), but if statistics are to be believed, cardiovascular diseases account for 17.9 million deaths each year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Indians account for one-fifth of these deaths worldwide.
Cardiovascular disease is very common and mostly silent until it strikes. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the risk factors. To help evaluate your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, your doctor might recommend Apolipoprotein – B test. In other words, this test measures the Apolipoprotein – B (apo B) amount in the blood. If the level of apo B is high, it’s an indication that you are at risk of cardiovascular diseases.
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term used to describe the conditions that affect the heart and the circulatory system. These conditions include heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease, and aortic disease.
Factors Contributing to the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Let’s delve into the details to understand your risk for cardiovascular disease:
1. Genetics and Family History
The genetic element associated with cardiovascular disease cannot be denied. For instance if you have a family history of this condition, it’s a potential risk factor for you. Certainly, this risk factor applies if your first-degree relative had developed CVD at a relatively young age.
- Father or brother before age 55
- Mother or sister before age 65
Additionally, a family history of hypertension (high BP), high cholesterol, and diabetes can increase your chances of developing these conditions, which might increase your risk of CVD.
2. Age and Sex
As you age, you are at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease. And although CVD risk is shared by both men and women, women develop cardiovascular disease at a much older age than men. In addition Researchers believe that this late-onset in women is linked to the hormonal changes that occur post-menopause.
3. Race and Ethnicity
Statistics show that people of African, South Asian, or Caribbean descent are at a greater risk of developing CVD.
4. Socio-economic Status
People with low socioeconomic status are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Lack of a nutrition-rich diet is generally considered to be one of the biggest contributing factors.
5. Health Conditions
Some of the health conditions that are known to increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases include:
- High blood pressure
- Unhealthy blood cholesterol levels
- Diabetes mellitus
6. Lifestyle and Behaviors
Your lifestyle habits can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. These include:
- Tobacco use
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Physical inactivity
- An unhealthy diet high in trans fat, saturated fats, and cholesterol
In conclusion, if you possess one or more risk factors, you have a high chance of developing cardiovascular disease. However, it doesn’t mean that CDV is inevitable. You can lower your risk by making lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet, exercising, and quitting smoking or drinking. Moreover, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases by managing your health conditions like high BP, high cholesterol, and diabetes with doctor-prescribed medications.