Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease

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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.

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.


Other Works Consulted

  • Goff DC Jr, et al. (2013). 2013 ACC/AHA guideline on the assessment of cardiovascular risk: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, published online November 12, 2013. DOI: 10.1161/01.cir.0000437741.48606.98. Accessed November 22, 2013.


ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology

Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology

Current as ofMay 14, 2015