Risk Factor of Cardiovascular Disease

There are many things that can increase your risk of getting cardiovascular disease. These are called risk factors. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing CVD.

Updated: August 17, 2020

There are many things that can increase your risk of getting cardiovascular disease. These are called risk factors. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing CVD. The main risk factors for CVD are:


High Cholesterol:

High cholesterol is one of the most important risk factors for CVD. High cholesterol contributes to plaque, which will narrow your blood vessels and increase your risk of developing a blood clot. This will result in the blockage of arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke.


Hypertension:

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for CVD.  If your blood pressure is too high, it can damage your blood vessels leading to Heart Disease and Stroke.


Diabetes:

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose or blood sugar, that our bodies use for energy. When the body is unable to use up these sugar because of diabetes, you have a high sugar level lying in your blood. High levels of blood sugar for a longer period of time can damage the blood vessels, making them more likely to become narrowed. This will result in damage of your nerves, heart, kidneys, eyes, and


Obesity:

Obesity which is one of the causes of diabetes and blood pressure directly increases the risk of cardiac disease. You are at an increased risk of CVD if your body mass index (BMI) is 25 or above.


Lack of Physical Activities:

Insufficient physical activity will lead to overweight, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. All of these are risk factors for CVD. Regular exercise will help keep your heart healthy. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight.


Tobacco:

Smoking and another tobacco use is also a significant risk factor for CVD. The harmful substances in tobacco can damage and narrow your blood vessels.  Not only from direct consumption of tobacco but also from exposure to second-hand smoke can also cause the damage of blood vessels.


Diet:

High intakes of saturated fat, trans-fats and salt, and low intake of fruits, vegetables, and fish in your diet can be a cause of cardiovascular diseaseHigh salt consumption plays an important role in raising blood pressure levels and overall cardiovascular risk. Frequent consumption of processed foods that are high in fats and sugars, promotes obesity and may increase cardiovascular risk. High trans-fat intake has adverse effects on blood lipids and circulating inflammatory markers. Higher consumption of sugar is associated with higher blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and increased risk of diabetes mellitus.


Alcohol:

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Excessive alcohol consumption can also increase your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and lead to weight gain.


Age:

The serum total cholesterol level increases as age increases, developing a risk of cardiovascular disease. Aging is also associated with changes in the mechanical and structural properties of the vascular wall. This will leads to the loss of arterial elasticity and reduced arterial compliance which may cause coronary artery disease.


Gender:

Male is at greater risk of heart disease than pre-menopausal females. But  Once past menopause,  a woman's risk is similar to a man's.  If a female has diabetes, she is more likely to develop heart disease than a male with diabetes. In females, estrogen is the predominant sex hormone that has protective effects on glucose metabolism and hemostatic system. This will have direct effect on improving endothelial cell function. The production of estrogen decreases after menopause, which causes in decreasing the HDL cholesterol level while increasing LDL and total cholesterol levels.


Genetics:

If you have a family history of CVD, your risk of developing it is also increased. If your father or brother was diagnosed with CVD before they were 55 or if your mother or sister was diagnosed with CVD before they were 65, you are at a risk of cardiovascular disease.


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