Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a broad term that encompasses a number of different conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. Though coronary artery disease, angina, stroke, and heart failure are among the most well known cardiovascular conditions, there are many others. They affect the heart valves, arteries and veins in the legs, and the rate and rhythm of heartbeats. CVD is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Fortunately, most types of CVD come with an early warning system. In other words, there are risk factors for many of these conditions that can be identified and controlled, giving you a chance to prevent CVD. The cornerstone of most CVD prevention strategies are the very principles of healthy living: not smoking, eating a healthful diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular exercise. Medications to control high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol may be used as well.
Even a diagnosis of CVD is not necessarily a closed door. There are many opportunities to reverse, slow, or stop the progression of CVD through lifestyle changes, medication, and, if necessary, surgical interventions.
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Last reviewed January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Last Updated: 1/29/2021