What are the Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary heart disease is among the leading causes of death in the United States. It results from plaque buildup in the arteries that feed your heart. Plaque builds up over time, and if it blocks an artery, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Coronary heart disease is common, but it doesn’t have to be fatal. Your Plano board certified vein and vascular specialist diagnoses coronary artery disease by measuring your blood pressure and checking for blockages in your arteries. Your doctor may recommend that you have an angiogram (a special X-ray) of your heart arteries to see if there are any blockages.

Many different risk factors can increase your chances of developing coronary artery disease or having a heart attack. Some of these risk factors include:

Family history

Family history is one of the most decisive risk factors for coronary artery disease. If you have a family history of heart problems, you may be at an increased risk of developing coronary artery disease. That is especially true if you have a first-degree relative who has had a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). One study showed that people with a parent who died from CABG were three times more likely to develop coronary artery disease than those without a family history. If you have a close relative who has had this disease, you must work closely with your doctor to ensure that you receive all necessary tests and treatments to help prevent the onset of this condition.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure is another significant risk factor for coronary artery disease. High blood pressure can lead to severe damage to your heart if left untreated, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, you must reduce your blood pressure as soon as possible if it becomes dangerously high. You can achieve this through lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly (at least 30 minutes per day). Your doctor may also prescribe medication if they feel that they are required to help lower your blood pressure levels back into normal ranges again.


Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use insulin properly so that cells do not receive glucose (sugar) into their cells properly. If left untreated, diabetes can cause serious health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. If you have diabetes and are not on medication, you must seek medical treatment immediately, as this condition can rapidly lead to severe complications if left untreated.


Heart specialists consider smoking as the primary risk factor for coronary artery disease. It is the number 1 risk factor for developing coronary artery disease. Smoking increases the risk of a heart attack by 30-40% and causes up to 80% of all deaths from heart disease. Smokers also significantly increased the risk of developing other chronic diseases, including cancer, respiratory disease, lung disease, and COPD.

The symptoms of a myocardial infarction vary depending on the location and severity of the damage. Coronary artery disease usually has no signs until it becomes too embolic for the heart muscle to function correctly. However, chest pain, shortness of breath with mild exertion, and nausea are common symptoms. If you are experiencing these symptoms or have a family history of heart health problems, contact a certified Cardiologist for medical attention. Contact Heart and Vascular Care to book your appointment with a heart specialist to learn more about coronary artery disease.