Causes of/Risk Factors
Strong risk factors are:
Cigarette smoking: Smoking doubles the risk of heart disease and accelerates arterial disease in the legs.
High blood pressure
Age: Atherosclerosis is primarily a disorder of middle and later life. The arteries become less elastic and more susceptible to arteriosclerosis with age.
High blood cholesterol in the form of low-density lipoproteins. (High LDL and low
Gender: Men are more affected than women. After the menopause the rates in men and women are equal.
Heredity: A history of close relatives developing arterial disease under the age of 55.
Diabetes: Diabetics have twice the risk of strokes, three times the risk of heart attacks and are 50 times more likely to have amputation of a foot for gangrene.
Improper diet - Saturated fats, deep-fried food, too much meat and too little fiber, fresh vegetables and fruits have serious consequences. Coffee, caffeinated colas and alcohol are high on the danger list. A diet rich in sweets, fast food and refined food will lead to arteriosclerosis.
Consumption of refined foods such as white-flour products, pastas and rice which contain little natural fiber or nutrients.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too little physical activity increases risks for developing blood vessel-related diseases. Exercise improves circulation and is excellent for the heart, lungs and muscle tone.
High stress: A fast-paced, High-stress lifestyle increases blood pressure and places undue pressure on the heart and arteries.
Lipoprotein (a): Lipoprotein (a) is a type of fat-protein molecule that resembles LDL cholesterol but has an additional piece to its structure called apoprotein (a). Lipoprotein (a) is a major component of the plaques found in the blood vessels of atherosclerosis patients. People with coronary artery disease exhibit elevated lipoprotein (a).
High homocysteine - Generally associated with low folic acid, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12.