People who have more than one specific risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) might be at much greater risk for CHD than people with no risk factors. Take the quiz below:

1. Do you have high blood pressure (hypertension)?

  • This condition strains the heart, and increases wear and tear on the blood vessels, making blockage more likely.

2. What is your race?

  • African-American individuals are more likely than white individuals to develop CHD because they develop high blood pressure more often.

3. Are you a man or a woman?

  • Men have a higher risk of CHD than women have. However, the risk of CHD in post-menopausal women (those who are in menopause or who have gone through menopause) increases and becomes similar to that of men.

4. What is your genetic background?

  • The genetic (inherited) make-up of some individuals increases their chances of developing CHD.

5. How old are you?

  • The older you get, the more likely you are to develop CHD.

6. Do you have high cholesterol?

  • This condition can contribute to the build-up of plaques that can clog the blood vessels leading to the heart, narrowing them and potentially blocking blood flow to the heart.

7. Do you smoke?

  • Cigarette smoking is the most important of the known changeable risk factors for CHD. Nicotine in cigarettes speeds up the heart and also narrows the arteries, making it harder for enough blood to get through.

As you can see from the risk factors listed, there are some that you cannot do anything about and some that you can do something about. Having an uncontrollable risk factor for CHD does not mean that you are destined to develop CHD. The presence of an uncontrollable risk factor does mean, however, that you should do what you can to care for your heart's health.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/15/2016.


  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Who is at risk for heart disease? ( Accessed 12/15/2016.
  • American Heart Association. Coronary artery disease - coronary heart disease ( Accessed 12/15/2016.

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