Nine modifiable risk factors for heart attack

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The majority of known risk factors for heart attack disease are modifiable by specific preventive measures.

Nine potentially modifiable factors include smoking, dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, abdominal obesity, psychosocial factors, regular alcohol consumption, diet () and physical activity. These account for over 90 percent of the population attributable risk of a first heart attack.

Fruits and vegetables should be eaten daily; regular physical activity is also important. In addition, aspirin is recommended for primary prevention of heart disease for men and women whose 10–year risk of a first heart attack event is 6 percent or greater.

Smoking cessation reduces the risk of both heart attack and stroke. One year after quitting, the risk of heart attack and death from heart disease is reduced by one–half, and after several years begins to approach that of nonsmokers.

A number of observational studies have shown a strong inverse relationship between leisure time activity and decreased risks of cardiovascular disease. Walking 80 minutes in a day and whenever possible with a speed of 80 steps per minute are the current recommendations.