Cardiac Risks Factors

What Is Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular disease affects the function or structure of the heart and/or the surrounding blood vessels. It is the second-leading cause of death in Canada after cancer, resulting in almost one in three deaths every year. The best way to reduce your risk of cardiac disease and heart attack [Link: Risks and Symptoms] is to live a healthy lifestyle. [Link: A Healthier You]

Find out more about cardiovascular disease
and learn about the six types of cardiovascular disease on the Public Health Agency of Canada website.

Cardiac Risks Factors

There are several risk factors for cardiovascular disease and heart attack. These risk factors are divided into two general groups: risk factors that we can change (modifiable), and risk factors we cannot change (non-modifiable).

Risk Factors We Cannot Change (Non-modifiable)

There are four risk factors that we cannot change due to genetics and other factors. These are called non-modifiable risk factors:

  • Gender
  • Family history
  • Age
  • Ethnicity

Risk Factors We CAN Change (Modifiable Lifestyle Changes)

However, we do have the power to reduce many of our risk factors for cardiovascular disease through lifestyle changes. These are called modifiable risk factors. Knowing what risk factors you can change is the first step to achieving a healthier lifestyle:

  • Tobacco or marijuana use
  • Alcohol
  • Unhealthy diet
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight/Obesity
  • Waist circumference
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Physical inactivity

The goal of the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program is to help you reduce your risk by making changes to your modifiable risk factors including stopping smoking, getting more exercise, and improving your diet. The program will give you the education, tools, and fresh start you need to live a healthier, more independent lifestyle.

Find out more about risk factors at the Cardiac College and the Heart and Stroke Foundation websites. You can learn about heart attack symptoms here.