Risk factors

Coronary heart disease (CHD)

As coronary heart disease (CHD) is the main cause of angina, the major risk factors for angina are the same as for CHD. The incidence  of coronary heart disease is higher for men aged from 45 to 55 than for women of the same age group, while after 55 the risk becomes equal. The probability of developing angina increases with age. The known non-modifiable risk factors include older age, male sex and family history (close relatives suffering from CHD after 45 years of age for men and 55 years of age for women). In other words, an elderly person whose relatives had a heart attack after 45 years of age has a higher risk of developing CHD symptoms  (such as angina) or, even worse, a myocardial infarction, and nothing can be changed about this. However, we do have to manage the so-called modifiable  risk factors of CHD. They include, primarily,  smoking, excess weight, lack of physical activity, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol level. This would mean appropriate modification of lifestyle and taking prescribed medications to prevent the onset of clinical manifestation of CHD (primary prevention) or any new and more dangerous clinical manifestations (secondary prevention).

Thus, you are at a higher risk of CHD if you:

– have high blood pressure;
– have high blood cholesterol level;
– smoke;
– are overweight;
– have diabetes;
– lack physical activity.

It is important to understand that simultaneous presence of the above risk factors poses a much higher risk of CHD than the simple total of these risk factors taken separately. In other words, if you smoke or suffer from diabetes, the risk of CHD in the next five years is 10 % or 20 % respectively, but this risk increases to 40–50 % when both factors are present simultaneously.