What are the Common Causes of Heart Disease?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. This condition claims more than 600,000 lives each year in the U.S. Anyone can develop heart disease, regardless of their age or background. There are, however, certain factors that can increase someone’s risk for developing heart disease.
Some risk factors cannot be changed, such as family history and the onset of menopause. While heart disease can occur at any age, it is more likely to develop with advancing age. Most causes of heart disease, however, are preventable. Three of the most common preventable causes of heart disease are obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure.
Common Causes of Heart Disease
The CDC states about one-third of American adults are obese. The American Heart Association says the longer someone is obese while in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, the greater their chances are for developing heart disease later in life. Longer durations of obesity contribute to hardened plaque in the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. This plaque may break off or a blood clot may form on the plaque’s surface. Loose plaque or blood clots can block blood flow in the arteries and could potentially cause a heart attack or stroke.
The American Cancer Society estimates there are more than 43 million adults in the U.S. who smoke cigarettes, which works out to be about one out of every five people. All by itself, smoking is a major risk for heart disease. When combined with other risk factors, smoking increases the likelihood heart disease will develop. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute calls cigarette smoking, “the main preventable cause of death and illness in the United States” and goes on to say that cigarette smoking is responsible for one of every five deaths in the U.S.
The toxic chemicals in cigarettes harm blood cells and nearly every organ in the body, such as the heart and blood vessels. This damage can lead to the development of atherosclerosis. Over time, plaque builds up on the inside of arteries and restricts blood flow to body, including vital organs. Coronary heart disease, or CHD, is a condition where plaque accumulates in the arteries around the heart. CHD can lead to chest pain, heart attack, heart rhythm problems, heart failure, and even death.
High Blood Pressure
One in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can cause coronary heart disease, sometimes called coronary artery disease or CAD. When the heart pumps blood, the blood exerts pressure on the inside of artery walls. Hypertension means the pressure is too high, which makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively.
These three causes of heart disease are preventable, as are other risk factors such as high blood cholesterol levels, a sedentary lifestyle, and an unhealthy diet. Combining these factors increases the risk even more. Anyone concerned about cardiac disease should contact an Arizona Cardiovascular Treatment Center to learn how to reduce these risk factors.