Risk factors for small vessel disease include:

  • Tobacco use
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity (body mass index of 30 or higher)
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • Being female
  • An estrogen deficiency, in women
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Increasing age, older than 45 in men and older than 55 in women

It's not clear why the same risk factors, such as obesity or an inactive lifestyle, cause some people to develop small vessel disease instead of large vessel coronary artery disease.

Apr. 09, 2013