Heart disease: risk factors

Section 2 of Coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke in Scotland - Strategy Update 2004 cites the National Heart Forum as having estimated the proportion of coronary heart disease (CHD) attributable to 5 key modifiable risk factors. These are:

  1. high blood cholesterol (46% )
  2. physical inactivity (37% )
  3. smoking (19% )
  4. high blood pressure (13% )
  5. obesity (6% ).

The percentages sum to more than 100% as people can have more than one risk factor. A poor diet and diabetes are also known risk factors.

While each factor is important in its own right, the risk of developing CHD is strongly related to a combination of factors and it appears that the effect is synergistic.

Detailed information on some of these risk factors can be found in the results of the Scottish Health Survey.

Family Risks 

As Reported in the Scottish Health Survey 2014,  Prevalence of CHD among those with a family history of CHD was around three times as high as for those with no family history (12%, compared with 4%). This difference was found among both men and women.