What Are the Five Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease?


Quick Answer

Five modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, obesity, tobacco use, high cholesterol and lack of physical activity, according to the World Heart Federation. Additional risk factors include diabetes, advancing age, family history and gender.

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Full Answer

The leading preventable risk factor for deaths caused by cardiovascular disease is high blood pressure. Thirteen percent of all global deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease result from high blood pressure, according to the World Heart Federation. The next most common preventable risk factor is tobacco use, which accounts for 9 percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease. High levels of blood glucose, often due to diabetes, ties with physical inactivity to account for an additional 6 percent each of global deaths due to cardiovascular disease. Obesity accounts for 5 percent of cardiovascular disease-related deaths.

Men are typically more susceptible to cardiovascular disease than pre-menopausal women, according to the World Heart Federation. After menopause, a woman's risk of contracting cardiovascular disease is similar to that of a similarly aged man. Age plays an important role in susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, with individuals becoming increasingly susceptible as they age, due to subtle physiological changes in the heart. Additionally, an individual whose male first-degree blood relative contracted coronary heart disease before the age of 55 has an increased risk of contracting cardiovascular disease.

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