What are the Different Coronary Artery Disease Risk Factors?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 December 2018
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There are a number of coronary artery disease risk factors which can increase someone's risk of developing this cardiovascular condition. In patients with coronary artery disease, the coronary arteries become blocked or occluded, limiting the flow of blood from the heart. This can lead to heart attacks and angina as the heart muscle struggles to get enough oxygen. This condition can be fatal if it is not treated, making it important to manage risk factors, preferably before someone starts to experience heart problems such as chest pain.

Certain risk factors cannot be avoided or controlled. Men are more likely than women to develop coronary artery disease, and the older someone is, the more likely this condition becomes. Race also appears to be a risk factor, although this may be complicated by sociological factors associated with race. Another one of the coronary artery disease risk factors is family history, which cannot be avoided. Being aware of uncontrollable risk factors can help people make better lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of developing coronary artery disease.


It is possible to manage or control other coronary artery disease risk factors. Smoking increases risk, as does drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and living a sedentary lifestyle. Diabetes and the use of certain medications are additional coronary artery disease risk factors, as is stress. People who live high-stress lives or who respond poorly to stress appear to be more likely to develop coronary artery disease. High blood cholesterol is another issue which can contribute to the development of this condition.

Simply leading an active life and eating a healthy, balanced diet can greatly reduce the risk, even for older males who are more likely to develop coronary artery disease. Regularly monitoring blood cholesterol and taking steps to address changes is another tool which can be used to manage risk. Lifestyle changes such as reducing drinking and smoking may also be recommended, especially for people with coronary artery disease risk factors which cannot be eliminated, such as a family history of the disease.

People should be aware that not everyone who has coronary artery disease risk factors will develop the condition, and that people who lack risk factors can still get it. Other physiological processes can be at work, causing people who live healthy, active lives to develop this condition. Researchers have noted that elevated levels of certain compounds in the blood such as C-reactive protein, lipoprotein, fibrinogen, and homocysteine may indicate that someone could be at increased risk of developing coronary artery disease.



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