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Cardiovascular Disease (CVD): Preventing and Controlling
Although many cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) can be treated or prevented, an estimated
17.1 million people die of CVDs each year. A significant number of these deaths can be
attributed to tobacco smoking, which increases the risk of dying from coronary heart
disease and cerebrovascular disease. On the other hand, cardiac events decline 50% in
people who stop smoking, with the risk of CVDs and PVDs (Peripheral Vascular Disease )
decreasing dramatically over the first two years.
Cardiovascular disease is caused by disorders of the heart and blood vessels, and includes
coronary heart disease (heart attacks), cerebrovascular disease (strokes), elevated blood
pressure (hypertension), peripheral artery disease (PAD), rheumatic heart disease,
congenital heart disease and heart failure. The major causes of cardiovascular disease
are tobacco use, physical inactivity, an unhealthy diet, and excessive use of alcohol.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes
and kidney failure. Uncontrolled hypertension can also cause blindness, irregularities of the
heartbeat and heart failure. However, high blood pressure is preventable and treatable.
Early detection and prevention are key.
A) Engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day of the week will
help to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
B) Eating at least 3-5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and limiting salt intake
to less than one teaspoona day, also helps to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
C) STOP SMOKING!!!
NO, NO, NO:
Tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity increase the risk of heart
attacks and strokes.
Doctors are more than knowledgeable about the risks of CVDs associated with tobacco
smoking, but they are not adequately prepared to help their patients stop smoking.