Ask the Doc :: Heart Attack Risk?
Dear Doctor Jason,
My Dad had a heart attack at the age of 42. That seems pretty young to me - what steps should I take to make sure I'm not at risk? Or should I be tested for blood pressure or something? I'm only 29 but worried.
Signed, Risk Factor
Doctor Jason's Response:
Yes, 42 is young for a heart attack. There are many reasons for people to have heart attacks, and some of them can be modified but others cannot.
Men are more likely to have heart attacks than women are; and, even if you undergo a sex change, you're still at risk based on your genetic sex.
There are certain genetic inherited factors that may increase the risk for heart disease, and those cannot be modified.
Men over 40 are also considered to be more at risk, and you can't change your age (no matter how young you look).
Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, alcohol use, diabetes, and obesity are all other risk factors, most of which can be modified.
At the age of 29, you should have a complete physical examination with your medical provider at least every 2 years; it should be annually if you have an ongoing issue, like high blood pressure, or if you take a prescribed medication daily.
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