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A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop CAD or angina with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing CAD or angina . If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Certain lifestyle factors may increase the risk of atherosclerosis, which can lead to CAD. These include:

These conditions put you are at greater risk of developing angina and CAD:

You are at greater risk if you have a strong family history of CAD or angina.

Men tend to develop atherosclerosis earlier the women. However, a woman’s risk rises once she enters menopause, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in both sexes.

Recent research has found an association between levels of certain amino acids or proteins in the blood and the risk of developing CAD. Clinicians and policy makers have not yet recommended widespread screening for these levels since they are not sure that these tests will add benefit to those already in place for the general population. Talk to your doctor to find out the latest recommendations and see if these tests make sense for you.

  • Homocysteine—High levels may mean an increased risk of CAD.
  • C-reactive protein—High levels may mean an increased risk of CAD.

Your risk of angina and CAD increases as you get older. Men older than 45 and women older than 55 (or younger if they have premature menopause) are at greater risk of heart disease.

African Americans have a higher incidence of hypertension than Caucasians and, therefore, a higher risk of developing CAD. Heart disease risk is also higher among Mexican Americans, American Indians, native Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans.

References:

Coronary artery disease. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Cad/CAD_WhatIs.html. Updated February 2009. Accessed June 18, 2009.

Coronary artery disease (CAD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated March 2010. Accessed April 9, 2010.

Coronary artery disease major risk factors. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated April 2010. Accessed April 9, 2010.

Depression is a risk factor for coronary artery disease in men. Archives of Internal Medicine. 1998;158.

The Homocysteine Studies Collaboration. Homocysteine and risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2002;288:2015-2022.

Libby P, Braunwald E. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders; 2007.

Mosca L. C-reactive protein—to screen or not to screen. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:1615-1617.

Ridker PM, Rifai N, Rose L, Buring JE, Cook NR. Comparison of C-reactive protein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in the prediction of first cardiovascular events. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:1557-1565.

Risk factors and coronary heart disease. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4726. Accessed November 2003.

Wilson P. Homocysteine and coronary heart disease. How great is the hazard? JAMA. 2002;288:2042-2043.

7/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Fung TT, Malik V, Rexrode KM, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sweetened beverage consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89:1037-1042.

7/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Kodama S, Saito K, Tanaka S, et al. Cardiorespiratory fitness as a quantitative predictor of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events in healthy men and women: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2009;301:2024-2035.

Last reviewed September 2013 by Michael J. Fucci, DO

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.