Things that increase your risk of coronary artery disease are the things that lead to a problem called atherosclerosis , or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is the starting point for coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Your doctor can help you find out your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Knowing your risk is just the beginning for you and your doctor. Knowing your risk can help you and your doctor talk about whether you need to lower your risk. Together, you can decide what treatment is best for you.
Things that increase your risk include:
- High cholesterol.
- High blood pressure.
- A family history of early heart disease. Early heart disease means you have a male family member who was diagnosed before age 55 or a female family member who was diagnosed before age 65.
Your age, sex, and race can also raise your risk. For example, your risk increases as you get older.
To learn how to lower your risk, see Prevention.