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Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure NHLBI Logo
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Risk Factors

asian coupleRisk factors are behaviors or conditions that can increase your chances of developing a disease. For instance, high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

There are other risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Most can be modified, though some cannot. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing disease. So it is important to take steps to prevent or control these risk factors.

Heart disease and stroke risk factors that can be controlled are:

 High blood pressure (hypertension)
 Abnormal cholesterol
 Tobacco use
 Diabetes
 Overweight
 Physical inactivity

Risk factors beyond your control are:

 Age (55 years and older for men and 65 years or older for women)
 Family history of early heart disease (having a mother or sister who has been diagnosed with heart disease before age 65, or a father or brother diagnosed before age 55) or family history of stroke

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