Heart Attack and Unstable Angina
What Increases Your Risk
Reference Coronary artery disease Opens New Window (CAD) is the major cause of heart attacks. So the more risk factors you have for CAD, the greater your risk for Reference unstable angina Opens New Window or a heart attack. The main risks for CAD are:
- Reference Diabetes Opens New Window.
- Reference High cholesterol Opens New Window.
- Reference High blood pressure Opens New Window.
- Reference Family history Opens New Window of early CAD.
- Age. The risk increases in men after age 45 and in women after age 55.
Women and heart disease
Women have unique risk factors for heart disease, including birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. These things can raise a woman's risk for a heart attack or stroke.
See the topic Reference Women and Coronary Artery Disease for more information on risk, symptoms, and prevention of heart disease.
C-reactive protein (CRP)
A type of protein in your blood may help find your risk of a heart attack. This protein is called a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). It is found with a Reference C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test. This test may help find your risk for a heart attack, especially when it is considered along with other risk factors such as cholesterol, age, blood pressure, and smoking. But the connection between high CRP levels and heart disease risk is not understood very well.
Most Reference nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Opens New Window (NSAIDs), which are used to relieve pain and fever and reduce swelling and inflammation, may increase the risk of heart attack. This risk is greater if you take NSAIDs at higher doses or for long periods of time. People who are older than 65 or who have existing heart, stomach, or intestinal disease are more likely to have problems.
Aspirin, unlike other NSAIDs, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. But it also carries the risks of serious stomach and intestinal bleeding as well as skin reactions. Regular use of other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, may make aspirin less effective in preventing heart attack and stroke.
For information on how to prevent a heart attack, see the Reference Prevention section of this topic.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 1, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
- Health Tools
- What Increases Your Risk
- When to Call a Doctor
- Exams and Tests
- Treatment Overview
- Preventing Another Heart Attack
- Life After a Heart Attack
- Treatment for Complications
- End-of-Life Decisions
- Other Places To Get Help
- Related Information