6 Surprising Risk Factors for Heart Attack

February 19, 2016
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Don’t let these catch you off guard and unprotected.

You don’t smoke, you eat a healthy diet and watch your weight, and you’ve done your research to find out if your family’s genetics raise your likelihood to have a heart attack. You think you’re doing everything right to keep your risk low, and while you by no means should pump the brakes on these wonderfully effective strategies, you may be overlooking other factors because of how unrelated they seem.

1) You delivered a child prematurely.

If you had spontaneous preterm labor, meaning that you delivered a child that was born premature (before 37 weeks) and you were not induced, according to a study conducted by the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, you face a doubled risk for heart attack. Researchers say this is because labor of this nature acts as a test of sorts for the heart, and your early labor is a sign that your heart failed that test.

2) You’re a mother of four or more.

The UT Southwestern Medical Center found that mothers of four or more children also have an elevated risk for heart attack. They believe that this is attributed to changes that happen in fat distribution around the abdominal organs after a higher number of births.

3) You’ve struggled with fertility issues.

If you’ve experienced the often emotionally painful experience of infertility or low fertility, you, too, have an increased risk. One example is polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that increases insulin, causes weight gain, and is linked to an increased risk for heart disease. It’s worth noting that women who have actively taken measures to prevent pregnancy may have low fertility issues and be unaware, so it’s always a wise idea to find out.

4) You were prescribed and took a PPI.

It stands for proton pump inhibitor and I find it to be the most fascinating risk factor for heart attack on this list. It’s available over-the-counter (think Nexium) and is also prescribed. A study with 2.1 million heartburn suffers found that those taking PPIs for an extended period of time had a whopping 16-21 percent higher likelihood to suffer a heart attack later in life. There’s no definitive answer from the science community as to why this is the case, but it’s likely due to the impact these drugs have on the lining of the arteries.

5) You’re experiencing horrible hot flashes.

Studies from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center compared women who’ve had none or a small amount of hot flashes with women who experience them almost daily. They found that many of the women in the second group also had significantly thicker carotid-artery walls, which can signal that you’re beginning to develop heart disease.

6) You had a certain childhood virus.

Coxsackie B often goes undiagnosed in children because the symptoms can be so mild—you just feel like you have an upset stomach or a slight fever. This quiet virus causes subtle injury to a child’s developing heart and the effects carry on into adulthood when the fully developed heart has difficulty responding to stress, increasing the risk of coronary disease.

Attack Back Against Heart Attack

If this list applies to you and you’re feeling frustrated, please don’t. While it likely may have been out of your control to prevent these risk factors, there is action you can take now. I recommend taking 1,000-2,000 mg of Super-EPA, 1,000 mg of GLA-90, and 100-300 mg of CoQ10 daily. The combination of EPA, DHA, and omega-3 fatty acids in Super-EPA will kick your cardiovascular health into high gear, while GLA-90 will support healthy cholesterol while it stimulates your brown fat. CoQ10 is last, but not least, in this powerhouse trio. It’s revered as the premier heart-protecting compound because of its ability to prevent the oxidation of blood fats, reducing their danger to your arteries and cardiovascular system.

For those of you suffering from heartburn, before you succumb to another scary prescription or over the counter remedy, I suggest HCL+2. It’s a common misconception that high levels of stomach acid are what cause indigestion, but it’s actually low levels. HCL+2 is made from only natural ingredients and is a miracle for easing an upset stomach, gas, belching, constipation and/or diarrhea, and putting the fire out when you’re experiencing acid reflux.

May this knowledge help you prevent heart attack and keep your heart healthy long past when Heart Month is over.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Lisa L.

    This is great information Ann Louise! Thank you so much for keeping us up to date in this important area. A lot of these factors apply to my daughter in law so I am forwarding this blog to her.

  2. Denise Nelson

    I am really concerned, I am 62 & have been prescribed Nexium for at least 10 yrs. I have acid reflux & Barrett’s Esophagus. Any suggestions on what I should do?

    • Team ALG

      Hi Denise. Evaluate your diet for foods that perpetuate acidity, like grains, night shades, alcohol, excess sugar, etc. and focus on eliminating those foods first. You can also begin a Zinc Carnosine protocol at that time to help heal the Barrett’s (8mg twice daily with meals). Drinking hot lemon water first thing in the morning and apple cider vinegar water before/during each meal will naturally help to alkalize your body and improve digestion. After a month or two, depending on your symptoms you may consider decreasing your Nexium while introducing HCL.

  3. Frances in Tennessee

    How would you know if you had Coxsackie B ?

    THANKS for all your guidance !

    Peace, Love and Blessings

    • Team ALG

      A Blood serum test would be the best diagnostic tool.

  4. Mary Gill

    I have been diagnosed with a very high calcium count in my artery walls. At sometime there was a post regarding a suppository with EDTA (?) that was know to help eliminate the calcium build up. It was recommended by ALG. Is it possible to locate this info?
    Mary GIll

    • Team ALG

      Mary, EDTA suppositories are a viable method of detoxing heavy metals and effectively removing calcium from the arteries. There are many choices available on line.



  1. Things You NEVER Knew Could Double Your Heart Attack Risk (PPIs, having children and MORE!) : The Hearty Soul - […] Republished with permission from annlouise.com. […]

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