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Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease

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.

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.
  • Age: People older than age 65 are more likely to have CAD.

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Greenland P, et al. (2010). 2010 ACCF/AHA guideline for assessment of cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 56(25): e50–e103.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Last Revised April 6, 2012

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