Risk factors of Chest Pain

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They are the risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis

Elderly man with a cane

Age (the incidence of an infarction is multiplied by five between 40 and 60 years) 

Blood collection tube

Elevated levels of lipids in the blood (especially cholesterol)

Increased blood pressure




A person lying on a sofa or bed representing sedentary lifestyles.

Physical inactivity

Overweight, obese person, representing obesity

Obesity, especially abdominal obesity (abdominal circumference more than 88cm in women, and more that 102 cm in men).

Risk factors depending on the disease

Heart with a blocked artery causing a heart attack

Acute coronary syndrome. The risk factors are male gender age greater than 50 years, family history, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, smoking, cocaine use.

Blood vessel obstructed by an atheromatous plaque

Aortic dissection. To suffer hereditary connective tissue diseases or other diseases that weaken the aortic artery wall, advanced age, and hypertension. There is also an increased risk on having been subjected to heart surgery or catheterization. The dissection can be present in younger patients of less than 40 years when they have a connective tissue disease, called Marfan’s disease. 

Geriatric patient with cane and nerve involvement in legs

Pulmonary embolism. The factors that increase the risk of deep venous thrombosis of the legs are prolonged immobility (long journey, surgery), as well as those that increase the capacity for the blood to clot such as, pregnancy, cancer, chronic heart disease, the use of oral contraceptives, certain drugs that are used for the treatment of cancer (chemotherapy), or familial diseases that increase the clotting ability of the blood. 


Pneumothorax. Smoking and activities like scuba diving can precipitate a pneumothorax. Aeroplane journeys can also favour the recurrence of a pneumothorax that is not completely cured.

Substantiated information by:

Beatriz López Barbeito
Emilia Vázquez Manjon

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018


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