What's Your Risk for Heart Disease?
Cardio = heart, vascular = blood. Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term that includes a range of problems that can occur with your heart and the system that pumps blood throughout your body.
Many diseases that affect your heart or blood vessels are linked to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which is when a substance called plaque builds up on your artery walls, narrowing them and hindering blood flow. Plaque may break off and form a clot that can more completely block arteries, causing heart attacks and strokes, two forms of cardiovascular disease. Other conditions under the CV umbrella include arrhythmias (problems with your heart’s rhythm) and heart-valve problems.
Heart disease is our country’s number one killer. About 2,150 Americans a day die from cardiovascular diseases, more than all forms of cancer combined. But there is plenty of good news. Because so much is understood about the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, as well as ways to treat it, you can work with your doctor to greatly reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular issues.