9 factors that increase your risk of a heart attack

heart attack risk factorsWhen it comes to the health of your heart, there are many threats you are aware of that contribute to a higher risk of a heart attack. These well-known risks include smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stress. However, there are lesser-known risk factors you may be overlooking that can also increase your chances of a heart attack.

9 surprising risk factors for a heart attack

Low HDL cholesterol

We all know that having high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is a risk factor for a heart attack, but the reverse is also true. Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, can also put your heart at risk. In fact, low HDL cholesterol is considered the third largest contributing factor of a heart attack. Keeping your LDL levels in check will ensure that your HDL levels are in the healthy range, too.



Studies have shown having the flu or any other infection increases your risk of a heart attack fivefold during the three days after diagnosis. This is because infections trigger a higher inflammatory response, which can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Kidney problems

Kidney problems, whether mild or severe, can increase your risk of a heart attack.

Urban living

Studies have shown that being exposed to high amounts of traffic, regardless of driving in it or not, doubles your risk of a heart attack.

Calcium supplements

A New Zealand study found that women taking calcium supplements had double the risk of a heart attack over the course of five years. An explanation for this may be because excess calcium could build up in the arteries and reduce blood flow.

Stopping aspirin

Several studies have shown that patients who stopped taking aspirin had the highest risk of a heart attack up to a week after discontinuation.

Prostate cancer treatment

Hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer has been found to increase the risk of sudden death as a result of a heart attack. Unfortunately, the link between the two is still unclear. Speak to your doctor about your risk of a heart attack before prostate cancer treatment begins.



Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. Like many autoimmune diseases, psoriasis leads to inflammation which can trigger a heart attack. Furthermore, psoriasis patients tend to be overweight, smokers, and have high blood pressure, which are additional risk factors that can lead to a heart attack.

Relationship issues

Toxic relationships can increase the risk of heart attack by 34 percent according to research findings.

In addition to the usual risk factors known to cause a heart attack, you should also keep in mind the not-so-common ones for overall good health and well-being, as well as to reduce your risk of a heart attack.



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