To date there is little information about hemorheological data in the presence of secondary risk factors. Inter- and intraindividual comparisons of hemorheological parameters show that fitness has a significant influence on blood fluidity as quantified by ex vivo measurements of blood and plasma viscosity, red cell filterability and red cell aggregation. In fitter individuals blood is more fluid. Similar observations can be made with stress. Prolonged psychoemotional stress leads to a loss in blood fluidity and red cell filterability. Finally a comparison between excessively obese patients and healthy controls reveals a deterioration in hemorheological parameters in the obese group. These results, together with reports from the literature suggest that all accepted cardiovascular risk factors are associated with abnormalities in the flow properties of blood. It is proposed that partly the same phenomena are involved in the genesis of atherosclerotic lesions and influence rheological properties of blood.