Health Topics

Cardiac Risk Factor Checklist

Cardiac Risk Factor Checklist

Cardiac Risk Factors

Cardiac risk factors are certain conditions that increase a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease. It is important to know:

  • Some risk factors, called " nonmodifiable risk factors," cannot be changed.
  • Some cardiac risk factors, called " modifiable risk factors," can be modified, controlled or treated.
  • The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • Higher levels of each cardiac risk factor correlate with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

Nonmodifiable risk factors

Check any cardiac risk factors that apply to you:

  1. Increasing age. Cardiovascular disease is more likely to occur as you get older. About 85 percent of people who die of coronary artery disease are age 65 or older.
  2. Male gender. Men have a greater risk of heart attack then women.
  3. Menopause. After menopause, a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease increases, but does not reach the level of a man’s.
  4. Family history. Your risk of cardiovascular disease increases if your parents, brothers, sisters, or children have the disease.
  5. Race. The risk of cardiovascular disease is higher in African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, native Hawaiians and some Asian Americans. This increased risk is partly due to higher rates of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes in these populations.

Since you can’t change any of these risk factors, it is important to focus on the cardiac risk factors you can change.

Modifiable Risk Factors

You, along with support from your family and friends, can work to achieve the following goals to change or treat your modifiable cardiac risk factors and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. If you already have cardiovascular disease, you can follow these guidelines to help prevent its progression. (Check the ones that apply to you)

  • Smoking
  • Total cholesterol level more than 200 mg/dl (especially over 240 mg/dl)
  • LDL cholesterol: More than 70 mg/dl for women at very high risk of cardiovascular disease, such as women with metabolic syndrome. More than 100 mg/dl for women at high risk of cardiovascular disease, such as some women with diabetes or women who have multiple heart disease risk factors. More than 100 mg/dl for all other women.
  • Triglycerides more than 150 mg/dl.
  • Low HDL level of less than 40 mg/dl
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight ( BMI higher than 25 kg/m2 )
  • Physical Inactivity

Contributing Risk Factors

(Check the ones that apply to you)

Some risk factors are not considered traditional risk factors, but are still thought to contribute to overall risk for heart disease. These include:

  • Individual response to stress
  • Drinking too much alcohol

Ask your doctor about these lab tests:

  • Ultra-sensitive C-reactive protein (us-CRP)
  • Homocysteine