Lowering Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease

There are several risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Some of these are un-changeable. These include advancing age, male sex and women after menopause and genetic disposition to acquire heart diseases.

However, there are several risk factors that can be changed or modified to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. These include risk factors like smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet etc.

How to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease

Guidelines to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases include lifestyle and behavioral changes or modifications:

Cessation of smoking

The aim of this measure is complete cessation of smoking and avoidance of second-hand smoke. Patient and their families need to stop smoking. Those who are unable to quit may need professional help in form of counselling, behavioral therapy and even pharmacological therapy. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is the first line choice of medication.


The aim of this measure is to ensure a healthy diet. Total diet should have no more than 8% (of total energy intake) of saturated + trans fatty acids. All patients are advised to take approximately 1g Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and more than 2g Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) daily.

Diet should have vegetables, fruits and legumes, grain-based foods, moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry, fish and reduced fat dairy products. EPA and DHA can be obtained from oily fish and marine n-3 (fish oil) capsule supplements.

Alcohol consumption

All patients should be advised to lower alcohol consumption. Men should drink no more than 2 standard drinks per day and women no more than 1 standard drink per day.

Physical activity

The aim of this measure is to raise physical activity and exercise to the recommended goal of at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week (i.e. 150 mins/week minimum).

Maintaining a healthy body weight

The aim should be to achieve a waist measure of less than or equal to 94 cm in men and less than or equal to 80 cm in women. The body mass index (BMI) should be maintained at 18.5–24.9 kg/m2

Lowering blood cholesterol

The aim of therapy should be to maintain blood cholesterol at:

  • Low density lipoprotein (LDL) at – less than 2.0 mmol/L
  • HDL – more than 1.0 mmol/L
  • Triglyceride (TG) less than 1.5 mmol/L

The blood cholesterol can be maintained with the use of pharmacotherapy. Statins are commonly used lipid lowering drugs. Those with diabetes and atherosclerosis need stringent blood cholesterol control as well. Other lipid lowering drugs include fibrates like gemfibrosil, clofibrates etc, Ezetimiber and niacin.

Lowering blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Those with coronary heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or stroke need tight blood pressure control. The aim should be a blood pressure of less than 130/80 mm of Hg.

Diabetes and blood sugar control

Those diagnosed with diabetes need stringent blood sugar control to prevent cardiovascular damage. HbA1c levels should be maintained at less than 7%.

Other drugs to lower risk of cardiovascular disease

Other drugs used to lower risk of cardiovascular diseases include:

  • Antiplatelet agents – this includes Aspirin and Clopidogrel. These drugs when given to patients with risk of heart attacks may prevent such attacks and events.
  • ACE inhibitors like Enalapril, Captopril, Lsinopril and Angiotensin II receptor antagonists (ARA) like Losartan, Candesartan, Telmesartan – these help in cardiac remodelling and prevent cardiovascular events like heart attacks, kidney damage etc.
  • Beta blockers like Atenolol, Metoprolol, Carvedilol – these help in lowering blood pressure and preventing cardiovascular events like heart attacks.
  • Aldosterone Antagonists like Spironolactone – this helps in preventing heart failure and other cardiovascular conditions.
  • Reduction of blood levels of homocysteine by regular supplementation with Vitamins B6 and B12, and folic acid.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, June 23). Lowering Risk for Cardiovascular Disease. News-Medical. Retrieved on June 14, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Lowering-Risk-for-Cardiovascular-Disease.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Lowering Risk for Cardiovascular Disease". News-Medical. 14 June 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/Lowering-Risk-for-Cardiovascular-Disease.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Lowering Risk for Cardiovascular Disease". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Lowering-Risk-for-Cardiovascular-Disease.aspx. (accessed June 14, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. Lowering Risk for Cardiovascular Disease. News-Medical, viewed 14 June 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/health/Lowering-Risk-for-Cardiovascular-Disease.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
America's looming heart crisis: Study forecasts alarming rise in cardiovascular disease and stroke by 2050