How do people develop cardiovascular disease (CVD)?

People of all ages have cardiovascular disease, or CVD. How do these problems of the heart and arteries develop? Simply put, cardiovascular disease develops in two ways: over time or from birth.

Heart disease that develops in a person over time is called acquired cardiovascular disease. Everyone sustains damage to the cardiovascular system as a natural part of the aging process. Additionally, lifestyle and genetic factors can strongly influence who develops cardiovascular disease and how quickly it progresses.

Cardiovascular disease that is present at birth is called congenital heart disease. Heart defects and other forms of congenital heart disease are often diagnosed in children but are sometimes not identified until adulthood.
Sharine Forbes
Geriatric Medicine

The heart is one of the most important organs of the human body as it pumps blood throughout the body delivery much-needed nutrients to the essential systems. Being that the heart is such an important organ it must remain healthy over the entire lifespan of an individual. However, there are individuals who develop atherosclerosis, also known as coronary artery disease, which leads to a myocardial infarction.

Atherosclerosis describes the process by which the blood flow to the heart is greatly decreased by a blockage as the smooth stretchy lining inside the coronary arteries becomes clogged with plaque. This blockage in turn leads to the decrease of the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body. As this happen the levels of oxygen that the body demands in order to function become much greater then that which is being supplied. Therefore, the combination of clogged arteries along coupled restricted blood flow and the levels of oxygen lead to coronary artery disease. As the cardiac muscles cells are restricted of oxygen and begin decaying the rest of the body’s organs do not receive the oxygen they need in order to survive which in turn causes a myocardial infarction. 

A myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, can cause many life long changes to the body as heart valves are damaged. Additionally, the ventricles of the heart can develop a hole in between them causing incorrect blood flow thus overworking the heart and leading to difficulties in the lungs. A heart attack can even cause blood clots that can lead to a stroke. Additionally, the heart can become extremely weak as a result of the heart attack, thus causing life long disabilities that can affect an individual on a social and personal level.

Studies have shown that there are many culprits for the development of coronary artery disease such as Endothelial Dysfunction, Free Radicals, Blood LDL’s, Elastase, Glycation, Heat Shock Proteins and Insulin-like Growth factors

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.