Risk factors are conditions or habits which increase your risk of developing a chest, heart and stroke condition. However, by being aware of what these are and making some changes to your lifestyle, you can both help to prevent these illnesses and reduce their severity, while also improving your overall health and wellbeing.
Managing medical risk factors which increase your chances of having a stroke or heart attack, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and Atrial Fibrillation, is also important. However, other risk factors like family history, ethnicity and age cannot be changed.
Lifestyle Risk Factors
We need to make sure we eat a “balanced diet” to ensure our bodies are getting everything they need to be healthy.
Physical activity can improve your health in lots of ways - both physically and mentally.
We all know smoking is bad for your health, but what exactly does it do and how do you quit?
When most people think about the dangers of alcohol, they think about organ damage - but alcohol has a part to play in heart disease and stroke too.
Stress is a natural reaction in the body designed to give short bursts of heightened energy or awareness - but too much can be bad for you.
Medical Risk Factors
Genetic Risk Factors
These cannot be changed:
- Family History: You are at a higher risk of developing a heart or circulatory condition if a member of your family has been diagnosed with a heart or circulatory diseases, such as a stroke or a heart attack, - particularly if your father or brother was under the age of 55 or your mother or sister was under the age of 65 when they were diagnosed.
- Age: the risk of heart attack or stroke increases with age.
- Gender: the risk of heart attack or stroke increases with age for both men and women.
- Ethnic origin: people with an Afro–Caribbean or Southeast Asian background have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
If any of these apply to you, then you need to take extra care about the risk factors you can control. It is also important that you speak to your GP and get a health check.
Our Well Checks includes tests to identify cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure and Atrial Fibrillation. Find out more about our Well Checks and book your check online here.
Still Caring through COVID
We’re still ‘Caring through COVID’ and providing essential services and support to people across Northern Ireland who have chest, heart and stroke conditions. Education is key in helping our service users to manage their illnesses and to inform others about the risk factors which can cause them, so we need your help more than ever to ensure that we can keep delivering key support online, on the phone and via the post.
Almost 90% of our funds come from the public so, with your donations, we can keep ‘Caring in through COVID.’