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 Reference family history Opens New Window, 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
- Reference Smoking. See the Reference Interactive Tool: How Does Smoking Increase Your Risk of Heart Attack? Reference
- Reference High cholesterol Opens New Window
- Reference High blood pressure Opens New Window
- Reference Diabetes
- Reference Obesity. See the Reference Interactive Tool: Is Your BMI Increasing Your Health Risk? Reference
- Reference Lack of exercise
- Reference Using birth control pills if you smoke and are older than 35 or if you have a family history of Reference atherosclerosis Opens New Window or blood-clotting disorders.
- Reference Using hormone therapy after menopause. This risk is higher for some women than others.
Reference Women have unique risk factors for heart disease. These include using birth control pills, using hormone therapy, and having pregnancy-related problems.
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 Reference Prevention.
Risk factors that you can't change
- Reference 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 Reference risk of getting coronary artery disease. If you know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, see the Reference Interactive Tool: Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack? Reference to calculate your risk of having a heart attack in the next 10 years.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 9, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Reference Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
- Health Tools
- What Increases Your Risk
- When to Call a Doctor
- Exams and Tests
- Treatment Overview
- What Happens
- Living With Heart Disease
- Angioplasty and Other Treatment
- End-of-Life Decisions
- Other Places To Get Help
- Related Information