In This Chapter
Defining risk factors for heart disease
Identifying the important risk factors that you can control
Watching for three risk factors you cannot control
Staying alert for emerging risk factors
Heart disease takes many forms, and established and emerging risk factors contribute to each form of heart disease in complex ways. In this chapter, I discuss the risk factors for atherosclerosis, particularly in the context of coronary heart disease (CHD). Paying close attention to the roles the various risk factors play and taking steps to control them can go a long way toward slowing or even reversing heart disease.
What is a risk factor anyway? Just as the name suggests, a risk factor is something that increases your chances of developing a chronic condition — that is, an ongoing health condition that you must live with. In the case of cardiac health, a risk factor is a personal habit, practice, or physical characteristic or condition that increases the likelihood that you’ll develop ...