It is important to know what they are in order to avoid counting on those that are within our reach to control.

Age. As a person ages, so will his or her heart. This is why older people are at the greatest risk for heart disease or stroke. It is recommended that after the age of 50, the person undergoes constant check-ups, not only of the heart, but of the whole organism to ensure that everything is going well.


Sex. Men have a higher risk of developing a heart problem. This is because women have hormones that offer a protective effect against cardiovascular disease. After menopause, women have the same risk as men of developing a disease of this type, since they reduce the production of hormones due to the absence of menstruation.


Inheritance. If a parent or sibling has heart disease, it is very likely that the person will develop heart disease at some stage in his or her life. The most common are those that affect the heart muscle (cardiomyopathies).


High blood pressure. High blood pressure causes the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. The heart muscle has to adapt to this increased stress over time, causing it to thicken. If left untreated, chronic heart failure (heart failure) with enlargement of the ventricles occurs.


Cholesterol. High amounts of cholesterol can block the major arteries that supply blood to the heart, which can lead to cardiac arrest or other discomfort related to the heart’s blood pumping. It has been shown that people with blood cholesterol levels of 240 have twice the risk of having a heart attack than those with blood cholesterol levels of 200.


Diabetes. The problem with this is that high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels and cause the arteries to clog.


Alcohol and tobacco use. Tobacco smoke can damage the heart area and thus affect the blood vessels around the heart. Similarly, alcohol is toxic to the heart muscle, can weaken the heart and cause a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (the heart dilates and decreases the “pumping” force).


Sedentary lifestyle. People who are not physically active are at greater risk for one of these conditions. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, which increases the chances of a heart attack or cardiac complications. This is because the arteries can build up fat and prevent blood from flowing properly.