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Cardiovascular Disease


Causes of a Heart Attack

While cardiovascular disease can refer to many different types of heart or blood vessel problems, the term is often used to mean damage caused to your heart or blood vessels by atherosclerosis, a buildup of fatty plaques in your arteries.

Over time pressure in your arteries can make the walls thick and stiff — sometimes restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues. This process is called arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

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Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease and is caused by:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking

For more information about heart attacks visit the American Heart Association’s external link website.

Causes of a Stroke

The blockage of an artery in the brain by a clot (thrombosis) is the most common cause of a stroke. The part of the brain that is supplied by the clotted blood vessel is then deprived of blood and oxygen. As a result of the deprived blood and oxygen, the cells of that part of the brain die.

Typically, a clot forms in a small blood vessel within the brain that has been previously narrowed due to various risk factors including:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking

For more information about strokes visit the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke external link or the American Stroke Association. external link


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