Risk factors for heart disease

The more risk factors you have, the greater your risk of heart disease.

  • High LDL-cholesterol
  • Low HDL-cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Postmenopausal female
  • Male over the age of 45
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood pressure


In order to determine your risk of coronary heart disease, your doctor may order a lipid profile. This is a simple blood test that measures the different fats in your blood. In order to assure accuracy, you should fast for 12 hours before your blood is drawn. The following are the target ranges for these fats in the blood:

TOTAL CHOLESTEROL:less than 200 mg/dl
LDL:less than 120 mg/dl (no heart disease)
less than 100 mg/dl (previous heart disease)
HDL:more than 35 mg/dl (men)
more than 40 mg/dl (women)
TRIGLYCERIDES:less than 250 mg/dl


Risk factors for heart disease

Fats in Blood

Dietary Fats

Food Guide Pyramid