Coronary Artery Disease - What Increases Your Risk
Things that can increase
your risk for
coronary artery disease are called risk factors. Some
risk factors, such as your gender, your age, and your
family history, can't be changed. Other risk factors
for heart disease are tied to your lifestyle and habits. These often are things
you can change. Your chance of getting coronary artery disease rises with the
number of risk factors you have.
Risk factors you may be able to change include:
Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and lack
of exercise are risk factors you can reduce with lifestyle changes and
medicine. Diabetes and obesity can sometimes be prevented when lifestyle
changes are made early in life. To learn more, see the Prevention section of
Risk factors that you can't change include:
- Family history. You're more at
risk if one or more of your close relatives have or had early CAD.
- Being male. Men generally develop heart
disease 10 years earlier than women do. But women who have diabetes may develop
heart disease at a younger age. By age 60, heart disease is one of the leading
causes of death in both sexes.
- Age. People over 65 are more likely to
have heart disease.
What's your risk?
Your doctor can help you find out your risk of getting coronary artery disease. If you know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, see the
Interactive Tool: Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack?
to calculate your risk of having a heart attack in the next 10 years.
Metabolic syndrome can also increase your risk for
heart disease. People with metabolic syndrome have a
group of health problems related to their
metabolism, including too much fat around the waist,
high triglycerides, high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar, and low HDL