Cardiovascular disease is a general diagnostic category consisting of several separate diseases of the heart and circulatory system.
CAUSES & RISK FACTORS
These risk factors for cardiovascular disease can be grouped into two broad categories: unmodifiable factors (such as male gender, and family history of premature heart diseases) and potentially modifiable factors (such as cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high blood-cholesterol level, physical inactivity,
Cigarette Smoking. Cigarette smoking has been established as a risk factor not only for lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchitis but also for coronary, cerebral, and peripheral vascular disease.
High Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is a powerful risk factor for cerebrovascular disease as well as for coronary heart disease. High blood pressure is defined as a level equal to or greater than 140 mmHg systolic pressure or 90 mmHg diastolic pressure, or as being on a regimen of antihypertensive medication.
Blood Cholesterol Levels. A clear and positive relationship between blood cholesterol levels and subsequent coronary heart disease has repeatedly been demonstrated.
Cholesterol in the plasma is transported by lipoproteins. The cholesterol level associated with the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) fraction is positively correlated with coronary heart disease, whereas the cholesterol associated with the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is negatively correlated (the higher the level, the lower the risk).
Physical Inactivity. An association between a less active lifestyle and increased risk of coronary heart disease has been shown by many studies. Now, this risk factor is classified as one of the four major modifiable risk factors for coronary heart disease.
Obesity. Weight reduction lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, whether it acts through a lowered blood pressure and/or cholesterol level or as a lowered risk factor itself.
Diabetes. Diabetes is a powerful and independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which remains the major cause of death in diabetic persons.
Other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as homocysteine and LPa, have been identified in single or multiple studies, but further information is needed to establish them as independent, important prognostic factors.