Understanding the terms of risk
- Major risk factors are those that research has shown significantly increase the risk of heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.
- Contributing risk factors
Other factors are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but their significance and prevalence haven't yet been precisely determined.
- Modifiable risk factors
The American Heart Association has identified several risk factors. Some of them can be modified, treated or controlled, and some can't.
- Risk calculations
The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing coronary heart disease. Also, the greater the level of each risk factor, the greater the risk. For example, a person with a total cholesterol of 300 mg/dL has a greater risk than someone with a total cholesterol of 245 mg/dL, even though everyone with a total cholesterol greater than 240 is considered high-risk.
Assess your risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease in the next 10 years with the Heart Attack Risk Calculator.
Risk Factors and Coronary Heart Disease
Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease
This content was last reviewed on 10/20/2012.