Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Many risk factors are associated with cardiovascular disease; most can be managed, but some cannot. The aging process and hereditary predisposition are risk factors that cannot be changed.
Most people with cardiovascular disease have elevated cholesterol levels. Low HDL cholesterol (good) and high LDL cholesterol (bad) are more specifically linked to cardiovascular disease. The hardening of the arteries also called Atherosclerosis of the vessels that supply blood to the heart is the most common cause of heart attacks. High homocysteine levels have been linked to heart disease as an independent risk factor. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and the risk increases as blood pressure rises. Overweight individuals are more likely to have additional risk factors to heart disease also.
A diet high in fruit, vegetables and fiber and possibly fish appears protective against heart disease. Regular exercise is certainly helpful for both lean and obese individuals against cardiovascular disease.