Skip left navigation
Subscribe to Heart Health and Stroke email updates.
Heart disease: Know your risk
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Reading those words may make you feel like you have no control. But many things can affect whether or not you develop heart disease, some of which you can control. That's why it is important to understand your personal risk factors.
Risk factors are conditions, habits, family history, and other facts about yourself that make you more likely to develop certain diseases. The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk of getting certain diseases. Some risk factors such as age or family history can't be controlled. But many can be controlled by making changes in the way you live. In this section you can learn more about the different kinds of risk factors that you can and can't control.
Return to top
More information on Heart disease and stroke prevention
Read more from womenshealth.gov
- A Lifetime of Good Health: Your Guide to Staying Healthy - This guide to staying healthy provides information on women's health needs for living long and living well throughout the years. Although you cannot control all risk factors for diseases, such as your age or family history, you can control many risk factors by following the key preventive steps included in the guide.
- Heart Disease Fact Sheet - This fact sheet on women and heart disease includes information about risk factors, prevention, and treatment of heart disease.
- Stroke Fact Sheet - This fact sheet answers questions about stroke, including information about warning signs, effects, and risk factors.
Explore other publications and websites
- Aspirin for Reducing Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke: Know the Facts - Before you decide to use aspirin to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research suggests that you talk with your health care provider to learn the effects of aspirin on your health.
- Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors (Copyright © Journal of the American Medical Association) - This fact sheet describes the main risk factors of coronary heart disease. Some factors you can control, and some you cannot, but it is important to do what you can to keep your heart healthy and strong.
- Five Medication-Free Strategies to Help Prevent Heart Disease (Copyright © Mayo Foundation) - If you are at risk of developing heart disease because of family history or lifestyle factors, follow these five simple steps for preventing heart disease. These steps include stopping tobacco use, eating a healthy diet, and exercising.
- Healthy Living After Stroke (Copyright © American Stroke Association) - People who have had a stroke in the past are at higher risk of having another. These tips from the American Heart Association discuss how nutrition, physical activity, following your doctor’s orders, and other factors can help reduce your risk.
- Heart Attack Risk Assessment (Copyright © American Heart Association) - The American Heart Association has developed a heart attack and interactive coronary heart disease assessment tool for people aged 20 years and older who do not already have heart disease or diabetes. After completing your assessment, you can print your results and use them to help reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
- Heart Disease and Heart Attacks: What Women Need to Know (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) - Women are at risk of heart attack just like men, but the signs and symptoms can be different. This fact sheet describes the difference in symptoms between men and women and explains how you can protect yourself from heart disease.
- Lifestyle Changes (Copyright © American Heart Association) - this web page explains the ABCs of preventing heart attack and stroke: Avoiding tobacco, becoming more active, and choosing good nutrition.
- Your Guide to Physical Activity and Your Heart - You know you should be more physically active. But are you confused, concerned, or just can't get started? This guide uses science-based information to help adults develop a safe and effective program of physical activity that can be sustained. Find out about the importance of physical activity in reducing heart disease risk and how to begin or maintain an activity program that's right for you!
Connect with other organizations
Content last updated: February 01, 2009.
Return to top