Risk factors are traits or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing a condition. Even if you already have coronary heart disease, having risk factors for CHD can make plaque build up much more quickly in your arteries. That's why, even if you know you already have CHD, you need to know the risk factors associated with it. Taking steps to reduce your risk factors can reduce your chances of developing complications from CHD, including your risk of heart damage.

Some risk factors for CHD can be changed or controlled. Others cannot. It's key that you do something about the ones you can change. This includes making choices about how you live your life each day. That means choosing wisely about what you eat and how much you exercise. These factors can have a big impact on your risk for CHD as well as on the effect CHD has when you already have it.