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.