Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease
Common cardiovascular disease risk factors include smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure. People who are at risk are not guaranteed to get a condition; however, the more risk factors people have, the greater their chances of developing cardiovascular disease. While certain risk factors cannot be changed, it is important to realize that you do have control over many others.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to diseases of the heart and blood vessel system within a person's entire body. CVD is not one single disease or condition. Rather, it is a group of different disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels. Some people are born with cardiovascular disease; others develop it over a lifetime.
A risk factor is any behavior or condition that increases a person's risk for a disease. Because there are so many types of cardiovascular disease, it is not possible to have just one list of risk factors. Instead, the specific risk factors will vary based on the type of CVD.
With that being said, several of the more common cardiovascular disease types do share a number of risk factors.
Common types of CVD (atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, angina, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart failure) share a number of risk factors. These include:
- Family history of cardiovascular disease
- High cholesterol levels, also known as hypercholesterolemia (see Effects of High Cholesterol)
- High blood pressure, also known as hypertension (see Effects of High Blood Pressure)
- Diabetes (see Diabetes Complications)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Being overweight or obese (see BMI Calculator to find your ideal weight)
- Lack of physical activity
- Cigarette smoking (see Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease).