Six Major Risk Factors of Coronary Heart Disease

Extensive studies have identified factors that increase the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack. Coronary heart disease is the buildup of plaque in the arteries of the heart that could result to a heart attack.  The American Heart Association recommends concentrating on preventing heart disease early in life. This includes evaluating one’s risk factors and working to keep them low. Identifying and managing risk factors early in life will let a person lead a heart-healthy life.

Read to understand the major risk factors of heart disease:

High Blood Cholesterol Level

A rise in blood cholesterol level increases the risk of coronary heart disease. The presence of other risk factors such as tobacco smoke and high blood pressure increases the risk further. Age, diet, heredity, and sex affect a person’s cholesterol level.

Tobacco Smoke

People who smoke tobacco products are at an increased risk of developing heart disease compared to non-smokers. Smoking cigarettes is a powerful risk factor for sudden cardiac arrest in patients who have coronary heart disease. Also, it interacts with other risk factors to increase one’s risk. Exposure to the smoke of other people increases the risk of the disease for people who don’t smoke.

High Blood Pressure

This condition increases the workload of the heart, causing the heart muscle to thicken and become stiffer. Heart muscle stiffening is abnormal and leads to possible heart dysfunction. Also, it increases the risk of stroke, kidney failure, heart attack, and congestive heart failure. A person with high blood pressure who is obese, a smoker, diabetic, and has high blood cholesterol has a greater risk than others.

Sedentary Lifestyle

People who practice a sedentary lifestyle are at risk of coronary heart disease. But, they can reduce their risk by doing regular, moderate to vigorous physical activity. Staying physically active can help them control their blood cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes.


Overweight and obese adults who have risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high blood cholesterol can change their lifestyle to lose weight and reduce their risk factors like triglycerides, HbA1c, and blood glucose. A lot of people may find it hard to lose weight. However, those above a healthy weight can focus on reducing 3% to 5% of their body weight to significantly reduce their risk factors.


This condition can seriously increase one’s risk of developing heart disease. The risk is even greater when blood sugar is not well-controlled.

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