Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Because heart disease is so common, it’s more important than ever for people to understand their risk of developing heart disease — and to take steps prevent it.

Your age and your family history both play a part in your risk for heart disease. The “at-risk” ages for men are 45 or older; for women, it’s 55 or older, or any time after menopause. Both men and women are considered at-risk if there is a family history: father or brother having heart disease before age 55 or mother or sister having heart disease before age 65.

Risk Factors You Can Control

Unfortunately, you can’t control your age or your family history, but you do have some control over these other factors that may put you at risk:

  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor eating habits

Experts have recently added a new risk factor — inflammation of blood vessels, which may be triggered by high blood pressure, smoking or low-level infections. Inflammation of blood vessels can be detected through a simple blood test, and treated through anti-inflammatory therapies and a heart-healthy lifestyle. You can do an Online Health Assessment to help you determine your risk level.