There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to the health of your heart. There are the ones you can't control:
- Age - the older you are, the more likely you are to develop Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
- Family history of heart health - Having a relative with high blood pressure puts you at an increased risk.
- Ethnicity: African-Caribbean and South Asian people have a greater risk of high blood pressure compared to other ethnic groups.
- Sex - men are more likely to develop CHD at an earlier age than women
And there are other factors you can control:
- Diet – Too much salt and saturated fats; not enough fruit and vegetables; and too much caffeine all increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, cholesterol and your risk of heart related health problems. The food and drink choices we make have a big effect on the health of the heart and blood vessels.
- Lack of physical activity: Being inactive increases your risk of high blood pressure
- Smoking: Smoking doesn't directly cause high blood pressure, but it puts you at much higher risk of a heart attack and stroke. Smoking, like high blood pressure, will cause your arteries to narrow. If you smoke and have high blood pressure, your arteries will narrow much more quickly and your risk of heart or lung disease in the future is dramatically increased.
- Alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol will raise your blood pressure over time. Alcohol also has a lot of calories which can cause you to put on weight.
- Being overweight: Being overweight increases your risk of high blood pressure due to excess weight increasing the effort for the heart and increases your cholesterol levels. The more overweight and the more inactive you are, the greater your risk.