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The cardiovascular or circulatory system is made up of blood, blood vessels and the heart. Blood moving away from the heart through the arteries delivers oxygen and nutrients to every part of the body. Blood moving back to the heart through the veins carries deoxygenated blood back to the heart and lungs.

As one of the most vital system of the body, it is very important to keep it healthy. For an increasing number of people, vascular disease has become a serious health issue. Vascular disease is a blood vessel disorder that affects the body’s arteries and veins. More people die each year from vascular-related diseases than all cancers combined. Vascular disease does not always bring recognizable symptoms such as in the following;

1.     In the carotid arteries (either side of the neck) a gradual buildup of cholesterol deposits or plaques can narrow or block the blood vessels and restrict blood circulation which can cause a stroke.

2.    In the abdomen, vascular disease can appear as an aneurysm or weakening in the wall of the main artery. The weakened area fills with blood and can stretch to the point of rupture causing a vascular collapse.

3.  In the legs, vascular disease can be a simple cosmetic problem or a painful and potentially serious condition involving the arteries or veins.

It is important to know your risk factors and be informed about family health history. What is a risk factor? A risk factor is something that increases the chance of getting a disease or having a certain health condition.

Risk Factors That I Cannot Change

1.      Risk of heart disease increases with age.

2.    Men have a higher risk of getting heart disease than women. After menopause, the risk for women gets closer to the risk of men.

3. African-Americans, American-Indians, Asian-Americans, Hawailians and Mexican-Americans have a higher risk of getting heart disease.

Risk Factors I Can Change

1.      Controlling cholesterol level through nutrition and exercise.

2.      Controlling diabetes through nutrition and exercise.

3.      Controlling high blood pressure through nutrition and exercise.

4.      Maintain a healthy weight through nutrition and exercise.

5.   Reduce stress by preparing days in advance, arriving at least 30 minutes early, allow people to skip in line and allow people to vent without taking it personal.

6.      Do not smoke or if you do smoke, quit.

7.   Limit your alcohol consumption to 1 drink every other day for women and 2 drinks every other day for men.

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