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Heart Disease Health Center

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Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease - Topic Overview

Some risk factors-things that increase your risk-for coronary artery disease (CAD), such as your gender, age, and family history, cannot be changed. Other risk factors for CAD are related to lifestyle and often can be changed. Your chance of developing coronary artery disease increases with the number of risk factors you have.

Your doctor can help you know your risk of CAD, heart attack, and stroke.

Recommended Related to Heart Disease

Thriving After 2 Heart Attacks

I had my first heart attack 26 years ago, when I was 52. I was very active then, sometimes jogging and often walking long distances. But I was also on the congressional staff in Washington, and the day leading up to the attack was even more hectic than usual. My boss was introducing major legislation, and I had crafted an important floor speech. I didn’t have time for regular meals and ate a huge cheeseburger for dinner, then smoked three or four cigarettes. It happened about 3 in the morning...

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You can help lower your risk of CAD with heart-healthy lifestyle changes such as eating healthy foods, being active, and not smoking.

Risk factors you can control

Risk factors you cannot control

  • Family history: One or more of your close relatives have or had early CAD.
  • Gender: Men generally develop CAD 10 years earlier than women, although by age 60, CAD becomes the leading cause of death in both genders. Women have certain other things that may increase their risk. These include hormone therapy and pregnancy-related problems.
  • Age: People older than age 65 are more likely to have CAD.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 20, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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