Risk Factors

Over 300 factors have been described that increase risk for development of stroke and CHD. The major risk factors (Table 3) have been defined by their specific appearance in many populations, by clear evidence that the specific factor exerts an independent impact on CVD and by the demonstration that treatment of that factor improves outcomes. A primary risk factor is hypertension that is present in many populations and singularly increases susceptibility to CAD, MI, heart failure, and stroke. Since the management of most cardiovascular diseases includes some form of lifestyle or dietary modification, the risk factors have been divided into two major categories: modifiable risk factors and nonmodifiable risk factors (Table 3). In industrialized and developing countries, the increased risk of cardiovascular disease development has been associated with a relatively limited number of modifiable risk factors that include: tobacco use, alcohol use, high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids, and obesity (Table 3).

Table 3 Risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Modifiable risk factors

Nonmodifiable risk factors

High blood pressure Abnormal blood lipids Tobacco use

Hereditary factors


Physical inactivity Obesity


Low socioeconomic status

Unhealthy diets Diabetes mellitus Metabolic syndrome Excessive alcohol consumption Medications

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