Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
by Michelle Badash, MS
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop CAD with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing CAD. Some risk factors can't be changed, but many can. Talk to your doctor about how you can reduce the number of risk factors you have.
Certain lifestyle factors may increase your risk of atherosclerosis, which can lead to CAD. These include:
Having certain health conditions put you are at greater risk of developing CAD. These may include:
Genetics are believed to play a role in risk factors that lead to CAD. A family history of CAD or heart disease can increase your risk of CAD. The risk increases when combined with other unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Men tend to develop atherosclerosis earlier than women. However, a woman’s risk increases to that of men with the onset of menopause.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women.
Certain Blood Test Results
Recent research has found that higher levels of homocysteine and C-reactive proteins in the blood may increase the risk of developing CAD. However, it is not clear the exact relationship and what levels are desirable.
Talk to your doctor to see if these blood tests will benefit you. They may be done if you are considered to be a high-risk candidate for CAD.
Your risk of CAD increases as you get older. Men older than 45 and women older than 55 (younger in cases of premature menopause) are at greater risk of heart disease.
Race and Ethnicity
African Americans have a higher incidence of high blood pressure than Caucasians and, therefore, a higher risk of developing CAD. Heart disease risk is also higher among Mexican Americans, American Indians, native Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans.
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Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 1/18/2017
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