Risk Factors for Heart Disease


This paper explores risk factors of heart disease that the student’s chosen patient had. Each risk factor stated will also have a proper explanation as to why it is a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease. These risks can either be modifiable or non-modifiable. It is also dependent on which risk factors the patient has. After discussing the risk factors that the student’s chosen patient has, healthy behaviors that the patient can employ, will be discussed. These healthy behaviors decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. As with the risk factors there will be a proper explanation for the healthy behavior as well.

Cardiac Essay

Risk Factors

CRS is a 51-year-old female with many cardiovascular risk factors. CRS does not have any known non-modifiable risk factors, but she has many modifiable cardiovascular risk factors. These risk factors are as follows: diet, obesity,


, high cholesterol, hypertension, stress, and insomnia. As far as diet goes, CRS’s diet was very high in fat, sugar and sodium. CRS’s diet consists mainly of fast food due to her busy schedule. She works 2 jobs and raises 3 kids. According to one study, “Frequent consumption of fast foods was accompanied with overweight and abdominal fat gain, impaired insulin and glucose homeostasis, lipid and lipoprotein disorders, induction of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress” (Bahadoran, Mirimiran, & Azizi, 2015). The results concluded that higher fast food consumption also increased the risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. (Bahadoran, Mirimiran, & Azizi, 2015). Interestingly enough, these results also coincide with all of her comorbidities which are also risks for cardiovascular disease.

The next modifiable risk factor is her obesity. CRS weighs 79.1 kg, and her height is 160.02 cm. Her BMI is 31.2, indicating that she is in fact obese. The patient has stated that her obesity comes from a poor diet full of unhealthy food from things like fast food. Only recently has the patient begun to diet, but the obesity persists. Obesity has been linked to many risk factors that cause cardiovascular disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood lipids (Cleveland Clinic, 2019). While this is of importance because CRS has all of the aforementioned risk factors, obesity in of itself is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Obesity has been linked to left ventricular hypertrophy, increasing the risk of heart failure (Cleveland Clinic, 2019).

CRS has diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol as well. These conditions all developed over years of poor diet and little to no exercise.  According to Mayo Clinic, high cholesterol causes fatty deposits to form in the blood vessels; this potentially will form a clot which may cause a heart attack or stroke (n.d.). CRS is also a diabetic, which also is a risk factor. the Center for Disease Control states that diabetes causes a buildup of sugar in the blood vessels, which eventually causes damage to the blood vessels and heart (2016). Another interesting fact that the CDC points out is that women with diabetes have a 40% greater risk of developing heart disease then men (Center for Disease Control, 2016). As CRS does suffer from hypertension, this can lead to many cardiovascular health problems. The American Heart Association states that high blood pressure increases the risk of heart failure by slowly narrowing and blocking blood vessels over time (2016). This can cause a huge issue with blood supply to the heart for CRS. The narrowing of blood vessels makes the heart have to work harder and this in turn leads to a heart that enlarges, which makes it less efficient, increasing the demand for oxygen and nutrients. (American Heart Association, 2016).

The final two risk factors for cardiovascular disease are CRS’s stress, and insomnia. CRS works 2 jobs, has 3 kids and rarely ever sleeps, suffering from insomnia.  She also has been formally diagnosed with anxiety. With a stressful lifestyle and, comes stress related health problems. According to the University of Rochester medical center, “Studies suggest that the high levels of cortisol from long-term stress can increase blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure. These are common risk factors for heart disease. This stress can also cause changes that promote the buildup of plaque deposits in the arteries” (n.d.). Her long days, insomnia, and familial responsibilities put excessive stress onto CRS increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Finally, insomnia has been associated with heart disease. CRS’s insomnia stems from her long work hours, chronic pain, and anxiety. According to the American college of cardiology, lack of sleep has been associated with hypertension and that certain inflammatory biomarkers associated with cardiovascular disease has been found in patients with insomnia (Edwards, & Hoover, 2016).

Healthy Habits

In order to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, CRS must make changes to her lifestyle. The two most important thing ways for CRS to reduce her risk for cardiovascular disease is exercise and to change her diet. Nearly all of her risk factors are in relation to these two healthy habits. Proper exercise can help many of CRS’s conditions such as stress, hypertension, obesity, diabetes. According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise burns calories, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol levels, and improves blood sugar regulation (2018). In the same article, it is stated that it only takes 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise to improve heart health (Harvard, 2018), so it’s not as if CRS has to become an athlete to reduce her risk. Exercise has also been indicated for people who are stressed. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, exercise reduces the physical response to stress, causing lower blood pressures and heart rates compared to people who are stressed but do not exercise. (n.d.) By exercising regularly, she could manage her conditions; however, exercise alone will not suffice as the source of many of these problems is CRS’s diet.

Diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension can be managed by diet. CRS should be cutting back on sugar, fat and sodium in her diet which are common ingredients in fast food. According to the American Heart Association people should be eating a diet that is nutrient rich, but low in calories to control weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure (2015). These foods include: fruits, vegetables, lean meats like poultry and fish, and whole grain (American Heart Association, n.d.). All these choices make sense since by cutting back on fat there’s fewer fatty deposits in the arteries and lowering cholesterol levels as well. Less sodium will also lower blood pressure. This also will help lower a person’s weight which will decrease the workload of the heart (American Heart Association, 2015). Finally, getting proper sleep is necessary for proper heart health. Lack of sleep has been associated with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018) These are all comorbidities that CRS has. Since CRS has insomnia it may be necessary for her to seek medical help.