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Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease


Topic Overview

Some risk factors 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.

Risk factors you can control

Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and physical inactivity are all risk factors for coronary artery disease that can be modified and in some cases eliminated with lifestyle changes and medicines. Diabetes and obesity can sometimes be prevented when lifestyle changes are made early.

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 65 are more likely to have CAD.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
Last RevisedMay 1, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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