Angina Risk Factors
Certain angina risk factors -- such as having coronary artery disease, a history of heart attacks, and age -- can increase your chances of having an angina attack. Although angina risk factors are not sure signs that someone will develop angina, in general, the more risk factors a person has for a disease, the more likely it is that he or she will develop it.
Angina Risk Factors: An Overview
More than 6 million people in the United States have angina pectoris (often just called "angina"). Angina is caused by a temporary lack of enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. This decrease in blood flow can happen for a number of reasons, but by far the most common reason is coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease).
Therefore, the most important angina risk factor is coronary artery disease (CAD). However, there are many other factors that put someone at risk for developing angina.
What Is a Risk Factor?
A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. Risk factors do not actually cause the disease or condition. However, just because a person has risk factors does not mean that he or she will develop the condition. On the other hand, a person can develop a disease despite having no risk factors. Usually, the more risk factors a person has for a disease, the more likely it is that he or she will develop it.
Specific Angina Risk Factors
Specific angina risk factors include:
- Coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease
- Other heart diseases, such as aortic stenosis or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Previous heart attack
- Age (stable and unstable angina occurs more often in older adults; people with variant angina are often younger than those with other forms of angina).
There are also a number of risk factors for coronary heart disease that affect a person's chances of developing angina. These heart disease risk factors include:
- Family history of early heart disease
- High cholesterol levels, also known as hypercholesterolemia (see Cholesterol and Heart Disease)
- High blood pressure, also known as hypertension (see Effects of High Blood Pressure)
- Cigarette smoking (see Smoking and Heart Disease)
- Diabetes (see Diabetes and Heart Disease)
- Lack of physical activity (see Heart Disease and Exercise)
- Being overweight or obese (see BMI Calculator to find your ideal weight or see Obesity and Heart Disease).
(Click Risk Factors for Heart Disease to learn more about what increases your chances of developing the condition. Click Heart Disease Risk to calculate your risk over the next 10 years.)