What are the risk factors for atherosclerosis?

What are the risk factors for atherosclerosis?

Anyone can have atherosclerosis. But some people have a higher chance of developing it.

Some risk factors you can’t change. These non-modifiable risk factors include:

  • Family history of premature cardiovascular disease.
  • Older age (age 45 for men and people designated male at birth [DMAB]; age 55 for women and people designated female at birth [DFAB]).

Some medical conditions raise your risk for atherosclerosis, including:

  • Diabetes mellitus. Diabetes makes a person 2 to 6 times more likely to develop atherosclerosis. This condition puts younger women (pre-menopausal) at risk.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure that persists for a long time can damage your artery wall. If your blood pressure is higher than 110/75 mm Hg, you face a greater risk. And that risk goes up the more your blood pressure goes up.
  • High cholesterol. High levels of LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” can be especially dangerous.
  • Obesity. Obesity raises your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It also causes inflammation throughout your body.

Lifestyle factors also play a role. These factors include:

  • Smoking.
  • Lack of physical activity.
  • A diet high in saturated fat, and trans fat, cholesterol, sodium (salt) and sugar.

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