A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop CAD or angina with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing CAD or angina . If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Certain lifestyle factors may increase the risk of atherosclerosis , which can lead to CAD. These include:
- Physical inactivity
- Smoking , which damages both blood vessels and lungs
- A diet high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and/or calories—A study found that women who regularly drink beverages with sugar may be at an increased risk of developing CAD.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol , which can lead to high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels
These conditions put you are at greater risk of developing angina and CAD:
You are at greater risk if you have a strong family history of CAD or angina.
Men tend to develop atherosclerosis earlier the women. However, a woman’s risk rises once she enters menopause , and heart disease is the leading cause of death in both sexes.
Certain Blood Test Results
Recent research has found an association between levels of certain amino acids or proteins in the blood and the risk of developing CAD. Clinicians and policy makers have not yet recommended widespread screening for these levels since they are not sure that these tests will add benefit to those already in place for the general population. Talk to your doctor to find out the latest recommendations and see if these tests make sense for you.
- Homocysteine—High levels may mean an increased risk of CAD.
- C-reactive protein—High levels may mean an increased risk of CAD.
Your risk of angina and CAD increases as you get older. Men older than 45 and women older than 55 (or younger if they have premature menopause) are at greater risk of heart disease.
Race and Ethnic Factors
African Americans have a higher incidence of hypertension 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.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/91/2012 -