Risk factors you cannot change include age, gender, ethnic background and family history. The risk factors you can change include the following.
Depression and stress
People with depression, who are socially isolated or who lack a good support network can be at greater risk of developing CVD. High stress levels can also increase risk.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure means that blood is pumping with more force than normal through the arteries. This can speed up clogging of the arteries with fatty plaques (atherosclerosis), the underlying cause of many CVDs.
When there is too much cholesterol in the body, it builds up in the walls of the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. The main cause is eating foods high in saturated and trans fats.
Regular physical activity helps to control other risk factors for CVD, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, and being overweight. It can also be good for mood, and mental and overall physical health.
Being overweight or obese puts extra strain on the body and heart, increasing risk of a range of health problems, including CVD.
The body – and the heart – needs a good range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients for proper functioning.