INTRODUCTION: Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of morbidity and mortality in Malaysia. There is evidence of high traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) use among population with cardiovascular risk and there have been anecdotal reports about substitution of conventional medicines with TCM. We investigated the prevalence of TCM use, treatment preference and substitution of conventional medicines in study population with cardiovascular risk factors in Pahang, Malaysia. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using an interviewer-administered questionnaire in five districts of Pahang. A total of 1250 households were chosen through proportionate and systematic sampling. Respondents aged 18 years and above were selected. RESULTS: The study population with cardiovascular risk factors who used TCM was higher than the general population (31.7% versus 25.9%). There were no clear preferences in using TCM by gender, age groups, educational level and income even though other bumiputeras showed a slight inclination towards TCM use. Among the study population with cardiovascular risk factors who consumed TCM, 20- 30% of them were using TCM as a substitute for their conventional medications. Respondents from the younger age group (18-40 years) (57.1%), highest educational level (43.2%), other bumiputeras (38.4%) and highest income group (31.4%) preferred the combination of both conventional and traditional medicine. CONCLUSION: TCM use among population with cardiovascular risk factors is high. The high preference for combination therapy of TCM and conventional medications among young adults and the use of TCM to substitute conventional medications show that much research is needed to provide proven TCM therapies to avoid self-mismanagement of cardiovascular risk in Malaysia.