Cardiovascular disease prevention should begin in childhood
Almost everyone with a typical American lifestyle develops some degree of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease over time. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and accounted for 20.5% of all deaths in 2020. Stroke was the 4th most frequent cause of death after heart disease, cancer, and COVID-19 in 2020 and the cause of 4.7% of deaths.
Heart and blood vessel disease include numerous problems, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis––a condition that develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can block the blood flow. This can cause a heart attack or stroke.
But a healthy lifestyle can postpone cardiovascular illnesses and death by decades or completely prevent them. It is important to develop healthy lifestyle habits in childhood and avoid a lifetime of eating an unhealthy diet with large amounts of added sugar, trans and saturated fat, and highly processed foods, control blood pressure, maintain a high level of physical activity, and avoid overweight and obesity.
CVD is largely preventable by putting into place the Building Blocks of Health
• Smoking and vaping: Don’t start or quit if you are a smoker.
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