Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke

There are identifiable causes that increase your chances of a heart attack or stroke. These are called risk factors. Some risk factors cannot be controlled such as your age, while others are treatable such as hypertension.

Risk Factors You Cannot Control

  • A family history or personal history of heart disease
  • Men, age 45 or older and women, age 55 or older

Controllable Risk Factors

  • High blood pressure or hypertension: The 2014 Evidence-Based Guidelines, by the 8th Joint National Committee, recommends a blood pressure goal:
    • For a person older than 60 years of 150/90 or less
    • For a person 30 – 59 years old of less than 140/90

    Your health care professional can instruct you on blood pressure medication and a low sodium diet.
  • High cholesterol: Your health care professional can assist you with diet and medication instruction to maintain a total cholesterol less than 200mg/dL.
  • High blood sugar or diabetes: Normal blood sugar is 70 – 100 mg/dL and prediabetic is 100 – 126mg/dL. Your health care professional can instruct you on medication and diet to lower your blood sugar.

Lifestyle Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke

Stop smoking:

Tobacco use increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Maintain a healthy diet:

This includes whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and lean cuts of meat, chicken and fish. The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium (salt) per day. Control your blood sugar with a fasting glucose of less than 100.

Regular physical activity:

Physical activity that helps your body to burn energy is vital for your heart health. Work toward the American Heart Association goal of 40 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, three to four times a week.

Weight management:

Keep your weight under control. Too much fat raises your risk of an increased blood pressure, an increased bad cholesterol level, a decreased good cholesterol level and diabetes.

Manage stress:

Limit stressful situations and include activities you enjoy. Read a book, take a yoga session, meditate, dance or visit a friend.

More Information

To learn more about UH Women’s Health Institute, or to speak to a navigator, please call 440-720-3262.

Need to Refer a Patient?

Click here for Patient Referrals

Browse Services A-Z

Maps and Directions

Click here for directions