Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors

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Exercise Plan

The benefits of regular aerobic and resistance exercise cannot be overstated. Regular exercise will make you healthier, stronger, and leaner. But… Physical exertion, especially after an extended period of physical inactivity, does have risks. Read on to learn more about exercise risk factors.

These risks are typically associated with underlying heart problems. It’s essential to evaluate your health especially your heart health prior to beginning or resuming exercise. The following evaluations are simple questionnaires with 7 YES/NO questions designed to determine your readiness for exercise.

These evaluations will guide you as to whether or not you should see a doctor before beginning or resuming exercise. If you do not know some of the numbers in the questionnaires, it is probably time to see your doctor anyway.



Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors

Before beginning any exercise program, you must determine whether or not you need to see a doctor. The following Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factor Analysis assesses seven risk factors for CHD and can be used to determine your need.

Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors

Positive Risk Factors



1. Family History Heart attack, coronary revascularization, or sudden death before 55 yr of age in father or other first-degree male relative (brother or son) or before 65 yr of age in mother or other first-degree female relative (sister or daughter)
2. Cigarette Smoking Current cigarette smoking, or smoking cessation within previous 6 months
3. High Blood Pressure Systolic BP ≥140 mmHg or diastolic BP ≥90mmHg measured on two separate occasions, or individuals taking antihypertensive medication.
4. Abnormal Cholesterol Total Cholesterol >200 mg/dl, or HDL <40 mg/dl, or LDL >130mg/dl, or on lipid lowering medication
5. Diabetes Fasting blood glucose ≥110 mL/dl, measured on two separate occasions
6. Obesity Body mass index ≥30 kg/m2 or waist circumference > 40 inches for men
7. Physical Inactivity Not participating in a regular exercise program or not meeting minimum physical activity recommendations (≈150 minutes/week of moderate aerobic exercise)

Add all “YES” answers. Subtract 1 from your total if you have an HDL value > 60mg/dl. Refer to the following table to determine your CHD risk factor category and whether or not you need to consult a doctor prior to beginning an exercise program.

Risk Factors CHD Risk Category Do I Need to See a Doctor Before Beginning Exercise?
0 – 1 Low Not Necessary, but still Recommended

EMG Exercise Homepage: Exercise for Men