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Causes and Risks of Heart Disease


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Heart disease (also called Coronary heart disease) is the leading cause of death among adults in the USA. Learning about its causes and risk factors may help you prevent heart problems.

What Causes Heart Disease?

Heart disease typically occurs when plaque (a waxy substance made up of fatty molecules, minerals, and cholesterol) develops in the blood vessels and arteries leading to the heart. The plaque ends up blocking oxygen and vital nutrients from reaching your heart. Elevated cholesterol or triglycerides, cigarette smoking, and high blood pressure usually destroy the inner lining of an artery thereby providing room for plaque to accumulate.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Several risk factors play a significant role in determining your chances of developing a heart disease. Out of the many factors, few stand out since they are beyond your control. These are age, gender, post –menopausal, and heredity. Men are more likely to get heart disease than women. The risk of Coronary Heart Disease intensifies when men are around 45 years, and women are around 55 years of age. The latter implies that the risk of women increases after they reach menopause. If you are related to close family members with a history of the disease, your risk may be greater. Other common risk factors for heart disease include the following;

  • eating unhealthy diets
  • smoking
  • obesity
  • Age
  • being physically inactive
  • clinical depression
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • diabetes or insulin resistance

Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices

Living an unhealthy lifestyle can also play a huge role in increasing your risk of developing a heart disease. Some of these unhealthy lifestyle choices that can contribute to heart disease are:

  • excessive drinking
  • smoking
  • Lack of proper stress management techniques while living in a stressful environment
  • lack of enough physical exercise and living a sedentary lifestyle
  • eating an unhealthy diet that contains high sugary foods, fat proteins, sodium, and trans fats
  • not managing or controlling your diabetes


Several studies have shown that people suffering from depression are at higher risk of developing heart disease than the general population. Depression can result in some changes in your body that can increase your chances of developing heart disease. Consistently feeling sad or too much stress can elevate your blood pressure and your levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is typically a marker for inflammation in the body. CRP levels that are higher than normal have shown to predict Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

Type two diabetes

Doctors estimate that individuals with type 2 diabetes (especially those at middle age) are twice likely to experience a stroke or get a heart disease as individuals who don’t have diabetes. Diabetic adults tend to have multiple heart attacks if they have high blood glucose levels or insulin resistance

How to avoid heart disease

Though heart disease is catastrophic, it can be prevented in most cases. By maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle, everyone would benefit. However, it would be more advantageous to those with increased risk. The following strategies can help you avoid heart disease:

  • drink in moderation
  • stop smoking
  • take supplements, as recommended by your doctor
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • reduce stress in your life
  • exercise on a regular basis
  • maintain a healthy diet
  • Learn the warning signs of strokes, heart disease, and heart attacks
  • get annual physicals from your doctor to assess risk factors and detect abnormalities

One of the most effective ways of preventing stroke, heart attacks, and heart disease is by living a healthy lifestyle as mentioned above. Preventing heart disease should be a priority regardless of your age.

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