Risk factors are conditions that make it more likely that a person will get a certain illness. Smoking is a risk factor for cancers, particularly lung cancer, as well as coronary heart disease. There are several other risk factors for coronary heart disease.
A person with a risk factor is more likely to get coronary heart disease compared to someone who does not have that risk factor. But just because a person has a risk factor, for example, being a smoker or having high cholesterol, does not mean that he will definitely get coronary heart disease. This explains why some people, albeit only a tiny minority, live to a good age, even if they smoke or have high cholesterol. Also, people without risk factors still get angina and die from a heart attack.
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