risk factor


Definition of risk factor 

: something that increases risk or susceptibility

Examples of risk factor in a Sentence

Age is one of the risk factors for this disease.

Recent Examples on the Web

Sarkar and Harrison said that primary-care providers must be on the lookout for a combination of risk factors that warrant sending patients to a specialist for a noninvasive liver ultrasound known as a FibroScan. Cathie Anderson, sacbee, "A liver disease you've never heard of is putting 12 million Americans' lives at risk," 7 June 2018 People with a strong family history of colorectal cancers, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease or certain other risk factors may need to begin testing even earlier than age 45, the ACS said. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "The American Cancer Society Just Changed Its Guidelines Around Colorectal Cancer Screenings," 30 May 2018 Other scientists have worked to improve access to meals for new mothers, reducing anxiety and depression, with an eye toward removing some of the risk factors that can lead to infant mortality. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "Hoosier health to get boost from $33M grant to Indiana institute," 22 May 2018 Ninan will discuss prevention, symptoms and risk factors and answer questions. Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend County community calendar," 30 Apr. 2018 The investigators assigned to re-examine the woman’s case were former prosecutors, one of whom had published papers about the risk factors for false convictions in the criminal justice system. New York Times, "U.N. Cases Read Like ‘Manual in How Not to Investigate’ Sexual Assault," 29 June 2018 In-patient chemical dependency program, the event is held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The program teaches attendees how to identify signs of dependency along with risk factors of substance abuse when people are grieving. Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora-area event calendar," 13 Apr. 2018 Though talc is on the National Cancer Institute’s list as an unclear risk factor for ovarian cancer, alongside alcohol and diet, Temkin is not convinced talc is dangerous, and here’s why. Elizabeth Inglese, Vogue, "Why Johnson & Johnson’s $4.7 Billion Baby Powder Lawsuit Is Important for Women Everywhere," 13 July 2018 Previous studies have implicated high blood pressure as a possible risk factor for dementia, including Alzheimer’s dementia, but there are few studies exploring how blood pressure, particularly among older people, affects tissues in the brain. Alice Park, Time, "This Surprising Factor May Raise Your Risk of Alzheimer’s," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'risk factor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of risk factor

1949, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for risk factor

The first known use of risk factor was in 1949

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More Definitions for risk factor

risk factor


English Language Learners Definition of risk factor

: something that increases risk; especially : something that makes a person more likely to get a particular disease or condition

risk factor


Medical Definition of risk factor 

: something that increases risk or susceptibility poorly controlled hypertension is a risk factor for coronary heart disease

More from Merriam-Webster on risk factor

Britannica English: Translation of risk factor for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about risk factor

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not any or not one

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