What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is an umbrella under which many afflictions affecting the heart and blood vessels lie. Sometimes this disease is called “Heart Disease”. It is the number 1 killer of men and women in the United States.
What causes CVD?
Arteries or blood vessels carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to important parts of your body. These are rubbery and flexible, but over time can become hard. This is called atherosclerosis. When atherosclerosis occurs, blood flow is restricted, leading to various health problems.
Who is at risk?
According to Americanheart.org, the following are the major risk factors for CVD:
· Increasing age — The vast majority of CVD cases are found in those aged 65 and older.
· Gender — Men have a much higher rate of CVD than women, even accounting for other factors (e.g., age, lifestyle).
· Heredity (including Race) — If your parents or someone in your family has had CVD, you are at greater risk for developing the disease.
· Tobacco smoke — Those who smoke have a greater risk of developing CVD. This may be related to the association between smoking and other CVD risk factors.
· High blood pressure—High blood pressure can have an adverse effect on arteries and blood vessels, increasing the risk of CVD.
· Physical inactivity – One of the most important preventative measures one can take is to exercise. The heart needs to be worked out, and physical activity can help one keep their heart healthy.
· Obesity and overweight—Additional weight increases risk factors for CVD, and independently increases one’s risk of developing the disease.
Click here for more information on Risk Factors and Coronary Heart Disease
What can I do?
There are several things that individuals can do to reduce their risk of developing CVD. Eating healthy foods, low in sodium and saturated fat, regular exercise, and not smoking are among the most important preventative measures.