Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death around the world (1), killing more people than any other cause. Cardiovascular disease, also known as heart disease, can be caused by environmental factors, particularly a person’s choice in life style, but is also attributed to underlying genetic factors. Cardiovascular disease causes 25% of deaths in the United Sates, to bring that fact to peoples attention the month of February has been named the “American Heart Month”.
A person’s choice in life style is a large factor in their risk of heart disease; in fact it has been proven that cardiovascular health is caused by the persons life style choice. One of the most well-known and major risk factors is an environmental factor known as hypertension, or high blood pressure. High blood pressure is responsible for approximately 7.5 million deaths annually (2). High blood pressure is created when the heart has to work harder to move blood through the body. This could lead to weaken blood vessels and major damage to organs, if left untreated high blood pressure could lead to a stroke (3).
Another environmental factor is a persons diet; diet is a very large part in the prevention and the enabling of cardiovascular disease. A diet in high saturated fats and trans fats are likely to raise cholesterol, while having a diet full of sodium can raise a person’s blood pressure. World Heart Federation statistics state that if the amount of sodium intake was reduced by 1 gram per day and 3 grams per day reduced the amount of salt intake it would lead to about a 50% drop in the need for treatment of high blood pressure. These statistics also state that the results of this reduction would lead to a 22% drop in the number of strokes, and a 16% drop in deaths from coronary heart disease (4). Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grain , nuts ,and soy will help protect against the risk of cardiovascular disease.
If a person consumes an occasional alcoholic beverage it has be...