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What Causes Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the number one killer in North America. These diseases--such as heart attack, stroke, angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis and arteriosclerosis, and high blood pressure--and their risk factors are so interrelated that it is very difficult to say "where it all begins." One place to look when sorting this out is with arteriosclerosis.
Arteriosclerosis Arteriosclerosis is the buildup of plaque in the arteries. It develops slowly, with soft, fatty streaks gradually accumulating along the inner walls of the arteries, especially where they branch. With time, the streaks grow larger and start hardening into plaque.
The danger is that plaque can lead to aneurysms and blood clots, and clots in turn can result in thrombosis, heart attack, and stroke.
An aneurysm occurs when the wall of a blood vessel weakens and balloons out. Like a balloon, the aneurysm can eventually burst. If this happens in a major artery, such as the aorta, it can lead to massive bleeding and death.
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