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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Risk factors for heart disease

Risk factors for heart disease

Risk factors are classified as modifiable and non modifiable risk factors. Knowing the risk factors for heart disease could reduce the chance of heart attacks.


Modifiable risk factors


Increasing age- age >65 yrs have increasing chance of heart disease.


  • Men have a greater chance of having heart disease than women.
  • This is partially due to the fact that men carry their body fat closer to their heart.
  • The risk of a women having heart disease increases after menopause, due to the decrease in estrogen levels.


Family history of heart disease increases the chance of heart disease to 2 folds.

Race and ethnicity

African Americans, American Indians, and Mexican Americans are more likely to have heart disease than Caucasians

Non modifiable risk factors

By making changes in lifestyle and dietary habits, risk for heart disease can be reduced.

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Smoking and alcohol
  • Elevated serum triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol
  • Stress and type A personality
  • Obesity and obesity
  • Sedentary life style
  • Drug abuse with cocaine
  • Birth control pills
  • Emotional stress and tension
  • High level of C- reactive protein


  • High blood pressure increases the workload on heart, causing the heart to thicken and become stiffer
  • It also increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure
  • When high blood pressure exists with other risk factors like obesity, smoking, high blood cholesterol levels or diabetes, the risk of heart attack or stroke increases several times

Tobacco smoke

Smokers' risk of developing coronary heart disease is 2–4 times that of nonsmokers.

Cigarette smoking is a powerful independent risk factor for sudden cardiac death in patients with coronary heart disease;

Exposure to other people's smoke increases the risk of heart disease even for nonsmokers.

Nicotine in tobacco is a powerful vasoconstrictor, reduces the blood supply to heart and also causes endothelial damage in the great vessels

High cholesterol

A person's cholesterol level is also affected by age, sex, heredity and diet.

Fasting lipid profile

Cholesterol type


Borderline high


Total cholesterol

<200 (mg/dl)

200- 239 (mg/dl)

>240 (mg/dl)

Low-density lipoprotein

<130 (mg/dl)

130- 159 (mg/dl)

>160 (mg/dl)


<150 (mg/dl)

150- 199 (mg/dl)

>200 (mg/dl)



HDL levels

HDL cholesterol levels

HDL cholesterol category

<40 mg/dl

Major risk factor for heart disease

40- 59 mg/dl

The higher, the better

>60 mg/dl

Protective against heart



Sedentary life style

An inactive lifestyle is a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity helps prevent heart and blood vessel disease. The more vigorous the activity, the greater is the benefits

Obesity and over weight

Excess weight increases the heart's work. It also raises blood pressure and blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lowers HDL ("good") cholesterol levels.

It can also make diabetes more likely to develop. Many obese and overweight people may have difficulty losing weight

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes seriously increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Even when glucose (blood sugar) levels are under control, diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, but the risks are even greater if blood sugar is not well controlled.