Cardiovascular risk factors

Cardiovascular risk factors include age, gender, genetic factors, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, dyslipidemia, obesity, physical inactivity, stress, depression and anxiety. These factors may be irreversible or preventable and curable, and they increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, such as atheroma, which is the damage to arteries that can lead to their narrowing and occlusion. Women have specific risks due to cardiovascular physiology and hormonal changes. It is important to take these risk factors into account when assessing a patient's cardiovascular risk and to implement appropriate preventive measures.


Definition and Meaning

Cardiovascular risk factors are physiological conditions, lifestyle habits or genetic factors that increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, stress, depression and anxiety. These factors may or may not be modifiable, and it is important to identify and consider them when assessing a patient's cardiovascular risk in order to implement preventive measures and treat existing cardiovascular disease.

Irreversible risk factors

  • Age: risk increases with age.
  • Sex: the risk is higher in women.
  • Genetic factors (heredity): the hereditary risk is well established, although the exact mechanism has not been determined.

Irreversible risk factors are characteristics or conditions that cannot be changed or avoided. Age and gender are among them, as they are related to natural physiological changes in the body. Genetic factors also play an important role in the inheritance of cardiovascular disease, but their precise mechanism has not yet been determined.

Preventable or curable risk factors

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Dyslipidemia: excess cholesterol, triglycerides, and especially "bad" cholesterol (LDL)
  • Obesity or overweight, especially if it is abdominal.

Preventable or curable risk factors are conditions or lifestyle habits that can be modified to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, dyslipidemias, and obesity are examples of these risk factors. These conditions can be treated or prevented by lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

Risk factors that are difficult to measure

  • Physical inactivity
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Difficult-to-measure risk factors are conditions or habits that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but are difficult to evaluate or quantify. Sedentary lifestyle, stress, depression and anxiety are among them. These factors can be improved by means such as relaxation, meditation or therapy.

Risk factors specific to women

  • Increased risk associated with some common factors
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Mental health disorders
  • Gestational hypertension
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Premature delivery
  • Early menopause
  • Use of oral contraceptives.

Women-specific risk factors are risks that are related to women's distinct cardiovascular physiology and the hormonal changes they experience during their lifetime. Common risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and obesity may be greater in women. Pregnancy-related risks such as gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm delivery, and early menopause are also risk factors specific to women. Women should consult a physician to assess their individual risks and implement an appropriate prevention plan.

The importance of consulting a doctor

It is important to note that these risk factors are not exhaustive and may vary from person to person. It is recommended that a physician be consulted to assess individual risks and to develop an appropriate prevention plan.