Risk Factors for Heart Disease

What are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

A healthy diet can positively impact four of the controllable risk factors for heart disease.
A healthy diet can positively impact four of the controllable risk factors for heart disease.

Risk factors are behaviors or conditions that can increase your chances of developing a disease. There are many risk factors for heart disease. Most can be modified or controlled, though some cannot. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing a problem related to heart disease. That’s why it is important to take steps to do something about heart disease risk factors that you can prevent or control.

Risk factors that you can control include:

Risk factors that you cannot control include:

  • Age (45 years and older for men, 55 years or older for women)
  • Family history of early heart disease (father or brother before age 55, mother or sister before age 65)
  • Race (American Indians, African Americans and Hispanics tend to have a higher incidence than Caucasians)

Knowing your risks gives you the power to make changes that can lower your chance of developing heart disease. To discuss your risks and learn ways you can manage them, talk to your doctor.

Take our Heart Disease Risk Assessment.

Download a PDF copy of a brochure about Risk Factors for Heart Disease here.

More information on this topic is available through our online health encyclopedia.