Skip to main content
Medicine LibreTexts

10.2: What Causes CVD?

  • Page ID
  • The 4 conditions listed below, all of which are beyond a person’s control, can be linked to cardiovascular disease:

    • Age
      There is a strong correlation between CVD and age. As a person ages, the risk for CVD increases also. Although, with males, the risk seems to be when they are younger and females seem to be at higher risk post-menopausal.
    • Sex
      Males have a higher risk for CVD, especially at younger ages. Women experience higher risk later in their lives. Click on the link below to learn more about The Heart Truth Program, a program focused on raising awareness about women’s risk for heart disease and ways for reducing that risk:

      The Heart Truth Program

    • Race
      African Americans have the highest risk factor for CVD.
    • Family History/ Race
      A person’s genes can be one of the strongest predictors of CVD, but also has the smallest correlation to to CVD overall.

      The 4 conditions listed below are also linked to cardiovascular disease but are within a person’s power to change:

    • Tobacco use
      The strongest predictor of CVD is the use of tobacco. The use of tobacco accounts for 30% of CVD risk. There is a significant reduction in risk for those who do not use tobacco.
    • Obesity
      Those that have a BMI greater than 30 have a higher than normal risk than those that do not have a BMI greater than 30. “The “obesity epidemic” experienced by the United States over the past several decades threatens to reverse important progress against heart disease.
    • Diet
      CVD can be correlated to high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol. Risk of dietary cholesterol intake can be correlated to atherosclerosis.
    • Diabetes

      This condition is viewed as seriously as any of the other factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol, that a person can control. In fact, those with

      Type II diabetes have the same level of risk for a heart attack as those who have already had a heart attack.