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What Increases Your Risk?

The exact cause of atherosclerosis isn’t known. But certain traits, habits or conditions (called risk factors) have been linked to a narrowing or hardening of the arteries. These may include:  

  • High cholesterol or high triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood)
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Eating foods high in sodium, sugar, saturated or trans fats
  • Older age
  • Family history: If you have a parent or a sibling with early onset of heart disease (before 55 years old for male relatives and before 65 years old for female relatives)
  • History of early menopause (before age 40)
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Sleep apnea


  • Last Edited 09/07/2022