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Heart Disease and Stroke: What are the Causes?

There is a long list of risk factors that can lead to stroke and heart disease, but the good news is that almost all of them are preventable.  It’s critical that you known these risks, so that you can monitor them.  This will not just decrease your chance of stroke and heart disease, but it will also promote a healthier and stronger you.  Stroke and heart disease are the two deadliest diseases in the entire world, killing millions of people every year.  In fact, out of three economic groupings of countries that are considered high-income, middle-income, and low-income; either stroke or heart disease ranks number 1 on the top 10 causes of death.

When it comes to heart disease and stroke, there are a few non-preventable factors such as family history, age, and ethnicity.  There are, however, many preventable risk factors that you need to be aware of:

  1. Hypertension:  Hypertension is defined and known as having “high-blood pressure”. It is the greatest risk factor for stroke, and can be a factor in heart attacks.

  2. Tobacco:  Any form of tobacco use increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially if you started young.

  3. Physical Inactivity:  This makes you 50% more likely to have a stroke or heart disease.  Furthermore, physical inactivity predisposes you to diabetes which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

  4. Type 2 Diabetes:  This is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke.  If you have diabetes you are twice as like to get cardiovascular disease.

  5. Diet:  One of the most important preventable risk factors to consider.  Other risk factors are caused by a poor diet such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

  6. High Cholesterol:  A risk factor for stroke and heart disease.

  7. Lack of Sleep:  This is one of the more overlooked risk factors, but lack of sleep can promote hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes; and then to stroke and heart disease.