Are You at Risk?

A risk factor causes a person to be vulnerable to an unhealthy event or disease such as smoking and heart disease.

While the cause of heart and blood vessel disease is not fully understood, we do know that heart disease is a chronic illness that starts in childhood and progresses as we age. Through research, risk factors that contribute to the development and progression of cardiovascular disease have been identified.

Risk factors that cannot be changed (uncontrollable):

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Heredity or family history

Risk factors that can be changed or controlled:

  • Cigarette smoking and tobacco use
  • Diabetes
  • Excess body fat
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress

It is important to recognize which factors pertain to you and your lifestyle. While you cannot change uncontrollable risk factors, their presence makes it even more important that you do control the other risk factors with a healthy lifestyle combined with prescribed medications. Controlling these risk factors may slow, arrest, and in some cases, reverse the progress of heart disease.

Each controllable risk factor affects your health so it is important that you know what you can do to modify or eliminate them. No one is more in control of your health than you are. The Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at Covenant’s Cardiovascular Health and Wellness Center and your physicians and nurses will help you to broaden your knowledge about heart disease, but it is up to you to transform this knowledge into action.