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Risk Factors

Risk factors for angina include:

  • High cholesterol. Elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol and/or low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol. This can help increase the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
  • High blood pressure. Uncontrolled blood pressure can help harden and thicken the arteries. In general, your blood pressure should be less than 140/90.
  • Family history of heart disease 
  • Age. Your risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) increases with age. For men, the risk increases sharply after age 45. For women, the risk jumps after age 55.
  • Smoking. Nicotine constricts your blood vessels, and carbon monoxide can damage their inner lining. Smoking can also raise cholesterol and blood pressure. It also reduces the amount of oxygen getting your body's tissues.
  • Diabetes. Blood sugars should be kept under control.
  • Obesity. Your body mass index (BMI) should be under 25.
  • High fat diet
  • High salt diet
  • Inactivity. You should exercise at least three times per week. Speak to your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
  • Stress. Activities designed to manage stress may reduce your risk of CAD.
  • Metabolic syndrome. This is a collection of conditions that includes high blood pressure, high triglycerides, elevated insulin levels and excess body fat around the waist.
  • Menopause
  • Sleep apnea. This is a condition in which your breathing stops or gets very shallow while you are sleeping.
  • High levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation. There is emerging research suggesting that high levels of this protein in the blood may raise the risk of developing CAD or having a heart attack.

Contact Information

Cardiovascular Medicine
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215