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Risk Factors and Health History

Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

Cardiovascular Disease

The number one cause of death in the United States is cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is classified as disease that involves the heart and/ or blood vessels. It can include (but not limited to):

  • coronary artery disease – narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply the heart with blood, caused by deposits of cholesterol and fat
  • heart failure – when the heart begins to fail due to inadequate blood flow
  • heart attack –  when blood flow to the heart is blocked by a clot
  • stroke – diseases of the blood vessels that supply the brain, which can result in stroke.

How do you get cardiovascular disease? The biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease are:

  • tobacco use
  • obesity
  • physical inactivity
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes (specifically type II)

If you have any of these risk factors, you are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease or experiencing a cardiac event called myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack. The scary news… coronary artery disease can begin in adolescence and current evidence shows that plaque buildup in the arteries can begin early on in life. The good news… the risk factors listed here are all MODIFIABLE factors. You have control over them! It will take consistent effort and lifestyle changes, but you can do it!


A Guide to Physical Fitness Copyright © by Jen Hilker. All Rights Reserved.

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