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Risk Factors

Contact the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention

Risk factors for heart disease include several health conditions, family history, and lifestyle. About half of all Americans have at least one of three key risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors include: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.1

Some risk factors cannot be changed 

You cannot control some risk factors. But knowing what they are can help you understand your overall risk for heart disease. These risk factors may be related to your family history or other characteristics such as your age, gender, and race or ethnicity.1

There are risk factors you can control  

Many risk factors can be modified, treated, or controlled by focusing on lifestyle habits and taking medicine, if prescribed by a health care provider. These risks include health conditions such as:

Lifestyle choices and behaviors can also increase your risk for heart disease. Your doctor may recommend changes to your lifestyle to reduce your risk. These risk factors include:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Too much alcohol
  • Smoking1

If you think you might have any of these risk factors, talk to your doctor or health care provider.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Heart disease risk factors. Retrieved December 3, 2019, from: