Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
by Michelle Badash, MS
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop CAD with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing CAD. Some risk factors can't be changed, but many can. Talk to your doctor about how you can reduce the number of risk factors you have.
Certain lifestyle factors may increase your risk of atherosclerosis, which can lead to CAD. These include:
Having certain health conditions put you are at greater risk of developing CAD. These may include:
Genetic Factors TOP
Genetics are believed to play a role in risk factors that lead to CAD. A family history of CAD or heart disease can increase your risk of CAD. The risk increases when combined with other unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Men tend to develop atherosclerosis earlier than women. However, a woman’s risk increases to that of men with the onset of menopause.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women.
Certain Blood Test Results TOP
Recent research has found that higher levels of homocysteine and C-reactive proteins in the blood may increase the risk of developing CAD. However, it is not clear the exact relationship and what levels are desirable.
Talk to your doctor to see if these blood tests will benefit you. They may be done if you are considered to be a high-risk candidate for CAD.
Advancing Age TOP
Your risk of CAD increases as you get older. Men older than 45 and women older than 55 (younger in cases of premature menopause) are at greater risk of heart disease.
Race and Ethnicity TOP
African Americans have a higher incidence of high blood pressure 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.
C-reactive protein (CRP) and other biomarkers as cardiac risk factors. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 25, 2016. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Coronary artery disease—coronary heart disease. American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated April 26, 2017. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Coronary artery disease major risk factors. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated June 12, 2017. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Coronary artery disease possible risk factors. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 26, 2018. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Coronary heart disease. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/coronary-heart-disease. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Homocysteine and cardiovascular disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated August 23, 2016. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Park CS, Ihm SH, et al. Relation between C-reactive protein, homocysteine levels, fibrinogen, and lipoprotein levels and leukocyte and platelet counts, and 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease among healthy adults in the USA. Am J Cardiol. 2010;105(9):1284-1288.
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(20):1557-1565.
7/6/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Fung TT, Malik V, Rexrode KM, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Fung TT, Malik V, Rexrode KM, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89(4):1037-1042.
7/6/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: 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(19):2024-2035.
1/18/2017 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Emdin CA, Odutayo A, Wong CX, Tran J, Hsiao AJ, Hunn BH. Meta-analysis of anxiety as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Am J Cardiol. 2016;118(4):511-519.
Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 1/18/2017
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.