Harvard Heart Letter

Coping with what you can't change

We write a lot about factors you can control to protect your heart and blood vessels — things like exercising more, not smoking, reducing stress, and controlling blood pressure. Cardiologists call these modifiable risk factors. But they aren't the only factors that affect your heart. A number of things you can't easily change, or can't change at all, also influence your cardiovascular health. These nonmodifiable risk factors include the following:
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