How to Identify Your Risk of Heart Disease

The more risk factors you have, the more likely you'll develop cardiovascular disease. Some factors can't be controlled, such as getting older, family health history and race. And a woman's probability of developing heart disease soars after she goes through menopause.

In the past, taking hormone replacement therapy or HRT was thought to help protect women against cardiovascular disease. But recent findings from the Women's Health Initiative Study showed that taking HRT poses more risks than benefits. The study found that HRT could actually increase a woman's risk for heart disease. The US Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that post-menopausal women should not be given HRT to prevent cardiovascular disease.

So, how does a women know she's at risk for heart disease? Here are some of the risk factors:

  • Over age 50
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Family history of heart disease'
  • Hysterectomy with removal of ovaries before age 45
  • Stress and certain personality factors: habitual impatience, hostility, anger, high competitive drive.
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Absence of a social network