Cardiovascular Disease: Atherosclerosis and Hypertension Essay

1783 Words Apr 10th, 2006 8 Pages
Cardiovascular Disease also known as coronary heart disease encompasses diseases of the heart and blood vessels. The two most common forms of cardiovascular disease are atherosclerosis and hypertension (chronic high blood pressure). Both of these conditions involve the damage of blood vessels. Hypertension and atherosclerosis paired equal the greatest threat to the development of heart disease and ultimately death (Missoula County, 2004).
Atherosclerosis means "hardening of the arteries"; this is caused by a build up of cholesterol and other fatty substance within the walls of the arteries. In atherosclerosis, fatty deposits called plaque, build up on the inner wall of the coronary arteries. These fatty deposits usually develop over
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The causes of high blood pressure vary. Based upon studies from the National Institutes of Health, causes for high blood pressure include narrowing of the arteries, a greater than normal volume of blood, or the heart beating faster, rather more forcefully than normal. Any of these conditions will cause increased pressure against artery walls. High blood pressure might also be caused by another medical issue. The majority of time, the cause is not known. Our diet, definitely, plays a crucial role in the development of hypertension along with stress (National Institutes of Heath, 2004).
Hypertension is most related to dietary factors, the diet. Dietary factors have been shown to correlate with blood pressure, including sodium to potassium ratio, percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, and magnesium content, and levels of carbohydrates, total fats and cholesterol. Obesity is a chief factor for predisposition to hypertension. Population as well as clinical studies has repeatedly demonstrated that obesity is a major factor in hypertension. Obesity is often caused by the over consumption of saturated fats. Lifestyle factors such as coffee consumption, alcohol intake, lack of exercise and smoking are all things that are very important causes of elevated blood pressure (Whitney & Sizer, 2003). The long term effects of caffeine consumption on blood pressure have not yet been clearly determined. Alcohol produces acute hypertension in some patients by the

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