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Multiple risk factors for heart disease

Knowing your personal risk is the first step in identifying what you need to do to prevent heart disease. A wide variety of things can increase your risk of developing heart disease – some of which you can change, and some you can't.

The things that you can't modify that increase your risk of heart disease include:

  • your age. Your risk increases as you get older.
  • your relatives. A family history of heart disease such as angina (chest pain), heart attack, or stroke, especially if occurring before age 55 for men or age 65 for women, increases your risk.
  • your sex. Men are generally at greater risk than women. For women, the risk increases after menopause.
  • your ethnicity. People of African, South Asian, and Indigenous descent are more prone to heart disease.

There are some things that you can do that may help, depending on your risk factors:

  • lower your cholesterol
  • lower your blood pressure
  • quit smoking
  • reduce your alcohol intake
  • get more physical activity
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • manage stress
  • take control of your diabetes

Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and whether you need any medical tests to evaluate your risk of developing heart disease.

Did you know that once you know your risk factors, it's possible to estimate your chance of developing some form of heart disease? There are many heart disease risk calculators, often based on data from large clinical studies, that your doctor can use.

Heart disease doesn't happen overnight. It can take years for the risks associated with cholesterol to turn into a heart attack or stroke. And the more risk factors you have, the higher your risk.

You can ask your doctor to calculate your heart disease risk for you. Knowing your risk of developing heart disease can help you and your doctor decide on a treatment plan and set treatment goals.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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