Ask an Expert: How Can Someone Determine Their Risk of Heart Disease?

This article is part of Health Divide: Heart Disease Risk Factors, a destination in our Health Divide series.

Ask an expert headshot of Dr. Shepherd

Xiaoyu Liu / Verywell

Meet the Expert

Jessica Shepherd MD, MBA, FACOG is a board-certified OB-GYN and the Chief Medical Officer for Verywell Health. She is the founder and CEO of Sanctum Med + Wellness, a wellness concierge practice, and is affiliated with Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Verywell Health: How can someone determine their risk of heart disease?

Dr. Shepherd: Heart disease, like any other disease state, has both controllable and uncontrollable risk factors. 

The factors that we don't have control over are our genetics and family history. People should be aware of these risk factors in order to mitigate their risk as much as they can.

Then there are controllable risk factors. These are primarily lifestyle factors or how we operate in our daily lives. They include preventive behaviors like diet, exercise, and stress. Nutrition and physical activity are key to preventing both heart disease and obesity.

If you’re able to control these modifiable health behaviors, you will decrease your overall risk of heart disease.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Know your risk for heart disease.