Cardiovascular disease causes

Cardiovascular disease is the general term for heart ("cardio") and blood vessel ("vascular") diseases. These include atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, peripheral vascular diseases and congestive heart failure.

Cardioovascular disease accounts for one in every two deaths in developed countries. Coronary heart disease causes 36 per cent of all deaths in the USA and is the number one killer disease. Stroke, another type of cardiovascular disease, is the third most common cause of death.

Cardiovascular disease causesCauses of cardiovascular disease

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include high cholesterol, smoking, high blood triglyceride levels, excess weight, stress, drinking too much alcohol and lack of exercise. Diabetics are also at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Heredity also plays a part in cardiovascular disease. Both men and women are more likely to develop heart disease if close blood relatives have had it. Screening, dietary intervention and possibly drugs may be useful in treating those in the early stages of disease. Being overweight in the first ten years of life also increases the risk of heart disease. The disorder is twice as likely to develop in those who are inactive as in those who are active.

Coronary heart disease strikes hardest at men in their mid-fifties. Men are more likely than women to suffer from heart attacks, and they also tend to have them earlier in life. However, after menopause more women die from heart attacks. Studies show that women's cholesterol is higher than men's from age 55 onwards.

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