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10.2: What Causes CVD?

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    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. The NIH has undertaken several efforts to prevent or reduce obesity in children and young adults, including a set of randomized trials to identify effective approaches in individuals and a large project to evaluate community approaches to reduce obesity in children (NIH, 2017)”
    • 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.

    This page titled 10.2: What Causes CVD? is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Flynn et al. (GALILEO Open Learning Materials) .

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