Having This Risk Factor Can Put You at a Higher Risk of Dying From a Heart Attack

What is putting you most at risk for a heart attack-related death? This article will review what puts a person at the most significant risk of dying from a heart attack. It will also discuss how this factor affects our bodies and how readers can change their habits to promote a healthier lifestyle. Specialties Cardiac Knowledge

Updated:   Published

Having This Risk Factor Can Put You at a Higher Risk of Dying From a Heart Attack

One of the most significant diseases affecting America is heart disease. A large amount of information tells us the reasons for most people developing heart disease and what risk factors a person might have that place them at a greater risk for developing heart disease. However, one question remains: what is the one risk factor that puts us at a more significant chance of dying due to a heart attack?

A study done in Brazil and published in Plus One suggest that "a person with hyperglycemia and coronary vascular disease is 5 to 10 times more likely to die from a heart attack than those with other risk factors". The scary truth of these results is that it didn't matter whether the participants had higher incomes or greater access to health care. Those with high blood sugar levels were at the most significant risk of death.

Let's stop right there with that fact and break this information down. Keep reading, and I will explain why this information is so important.

What Happens During a Heart Attack

When someone has a heart attack, their heart is literally crying out in pain because there is no blood flow. The blood flow is blocked by something, or the amount of blood reaching the heart is severely reduced. This blockage is typically caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries. Sometimes this plaque can break off from other areas and travel to the heart, causing a blockage.

Once blood flow is blocked off, people will experience pain in the heart from the cells dying. The way a person will experience the pain from a heart attack varies from person to person. This pain may last for a few minutes and then go away or come back.

The pain in a heart attack is our bodies' saying, "Hey, I need some oxygen here... Something is not right!” The blood in our bodies carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells to keep them functioning. Chest pain is a neat response to this unforeseen circumstance that tells us that something is happening inside your body that needs immediate attention.

Do You Have the Biggest Risk Factor

The most significant risk factor for dying from a heart attack is having high blood sugar, which we often see with diabetes. This increased blood sugar level can cause damage to any organ in the body. This means high blood sugar levels aren't going to discriminate against the heart and can also attack this vital organ.

Other factors that may put you at a higher risk for death during a heart attack are if you have had a previous heart attack in the past, smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels. High blood pressure increases the workload on the heart. Smoking makes the blood stickier and increases clotting chances, and high cholesterol causes those plaque lesions to build up in our arteries.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

When we think about high blood sugar, we instantly think about diabetes. So naturally, we start to wonder, "What are the symptoms of diabetes?”. The most common signs of diabetes are:

  • Urinating frequently
  • Blurry vision
  • Getting sick often
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Extreme thirst and hunger
  • Tingling in the hands and feet

If you experience any of those symptoms, you should set up an appointment with your doctor to test your blood sugar levels. Letting this condition go uncontrolled can be highly detrimental to your health.

High Blood Sugar Effects on Blood Vessels

So naturally, the next question is, what exactly do high blood sugar levels do to the blood vessels of our bodies? This increased blood sugar level causes the walls of arteries and veins to be rigid and lose what is called their elasticity. This is because the hardening is formed by plaque build-up.

Imagine when you hold a hose in your hand and turn on the water while covering the ending of the opening with your thumb just a little bit. Your thumb represents the plaque build-up, and the water represents your blood. It is difficult for the water or blood to pass through the plaque or your thumb.

Here is a helpful video explaining how diabetes harms blood vessels.

Earlier I mentioned the blood in our bodies carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Those cells can sometimes die without blood flow because they are not getting those critical supplies.

Can I Get Heart Healthy

It is never too late to turn things around and do better for your heart. The following are of no surprise to most as they have often been said over and over; however, some simple ways that you can work to improve your lifestyle and get your health back on track are:

  •  Stop smoking. The American Heart Association states that there are over 5,000 chemicals in cigarettes. We all know that smoking is not only bad for your lungs; it's also bad for your heart. Second-hand smoke is also something to try to avoid.
  • Lower your cholesterol. Lowering your cholesterol will also decrease the chances for plaque build-up to form. Talking to a nutrition specialist can help you change your diet habits.
  •  Get control of your blood pressure. Having high blood pressure makes your heart have to work harder. High blood pressure will eventually make the arteries thicker and increase the hardening.
  • Increase your activity level. Start slowly by walking around the block, then gradually increase your distance. Increasing your activity level could help you lose weight and lower the risk of developing diabetes if you do not already have it.


Our heart is the core organ that keeps our lives flowing. We must be aware of those factors that could lead to death from a heart attack. While many other contributing factors increase this risk, it has become apparent that high blood sugar levels, often seen with diabetes, puts you at the highest risk of death. Working hard today by altering our lifestyles can increase our chances of sticking around a little longer.


Analysing the impact of modifiable risk factors on cardiovascular disease mortality in Brazil

CDC: Heart Disease

Why do heart attacks always cause chest pain?

Diabetes is the variable that most affects the number of deaths from heart attack

CDC: Diabetes Symptoms

How Diabetes Damages Blood Vessels Causing Risk for PAD

How Smoking and Nicotine Damage Your Body

Understand Your Risks to Prevent a Heart Attack

Keep Your Heart Healthy

Courtney Battaglia is a registered nurse with over thirteen years of experience in multiple specialty areas, including autoimmune disorders, infusion, cardiology, the surgical patient, and coding education.

2 Articles   114 Posts

Share this post

Share on other sites


963 Posts

♥️😍❤️.  Great article! 

Courtney Nurse Writer, BSN

2 Articles; 114 Posts

On 10/17/2022 at 2:50 AM, HiddenAngels said:

♥️😍❤️.  Great article! 

Thank you! I really appreciate that!

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X