Risk is not a four letter word. Well, technically it is. But the point being “risk” does not have to be scary or taboo. Regardless of your age or how healthy you look or feel, we all have “risk factors” and they are as unique as our fingerprints. It’s what we do about our risk factors that matters most.
“Risk” is one way to measure how likely it is that you will experience a heart attack, cancer, stroke, diabetes or any number of things. But what are risk factors, you might wonder?
- Demographics: Age, for instance, can put you at a higher risk for some diseases.
Behavior: Some habits can increase your risk. Are you a smoker? Smoking ups your risk for just about every nasty disease you’d ever want to avoid.
History: Your family history (genetics) sometimes plays a role in your risk for disease. Also, if you have a history of high blood pressure, for example, you are at a higher risk for stroke.
Body changes: Certain changes in our bodies make us more prone to disease. For example, during menopause when the chemicals in women’s bodies change, they are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis (weak bones).
The first step to managing risk is knowing your own risk factors—how your personal demographics, behavior, history and body changes can affect your health. Take a quick, free quiz to figure out your risk for: