Risk factors

One in three women will be affected by heart disease, and the risk can begin by the age of 20. 

Start by being aware of the specific risk factors - the medical conditions and life habits - strongly linked to heart disease in women. Having one or even several of these risk factors doesn’t mean you will develop cardiovascular disease, but decades of research have shown it makes it more likely. Too often, women fail to make the connection between risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes and their own chance of developing heart disease.

The good news is that you can dramatically decrease your chances of developing heart disease. Up to 80% percent of women's risk of heart disease can be attributed to factors you can change, such as smoking, hypertension and obesity. Other risk factors, such as family history, can’t be changed, but knowing how they can affect your health will help you understand and manage the risk.

You’ve already made a healthy choice just by learning about your heart. Here are some major risk factors for heart disease along with simple steps you can take to reduce your own risk.