What are the Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease?

Heart in Chest

Having risk factors for a disease does not necessarily mean you will develop that disease. They just mean you are more likely than people not having those risk factors. Scientists identify these risk factors through large population-based studies that identify groups of people more or less likely to have certain characteristics. They may not always be true for individual people. For instance, you may know someone who is overweight, but doesn’t have diabetes or heart disease. However, for many people, having these risk factors is associated with a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease: 

  • Elevated blood glucose levels resulting in increased hemoglobin A1c values
  • Elevated blood cholesterol
    • Elevated Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) level
    • Lower than normal High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) level
  • Excess body weight
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking

To assess your 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease visit the American Heart Association’s website at static.heart.org