Causes of Heart Disease

Some of these disorders are the result of the over production of blood vessel cells, while others occur from vascular malformations. Still others result from inflammation of the blood vessels or the build up of a fatty substance called plaque within the blood vessels.

Source: NCBI, Genes and Disease (NCBI/NIH)1

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Back to: « Heart Disease

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Changes to Your Heart With Age

Aging can cause changes in the heart and blood vessels. For example, as you get older, your heart can’t beat as fast during physical activity or stress as when you were younger. However, the number of heart beats per minute (heart rate) at rest does not change as you age.

Many of the problems older people have with their heart and blood vessels are really caused by disease, not by aging. For example, an older heart can normally pump blood as strong as a younger heart; less ability to pump blood is caused by disease. But, changes that happen with age may increase a person’s risk of heart disease. The good news is there are things you can do to delay, lower, or possibly avoid or reverse your risk.

A common problem related to aging is “hardening of the arteries,” called arteriosclerosis (ahr-teer-ee-o-skluh-roh-sis). This problem is why blood pressure goes up with age.

Age can cause other changes to the heart. For example:

  • Blood vessels can become stiffer, and some parts of the heart wall will thicken to help with blood flow.
  • Your valves (one-way, door-like parts that open and close to control the blood flow inside your heart) may become thicker and stiffer, causing leaks or problems with pumping blood out of the heart.
  • The size of the sections of your heart may increase.

Other factors, such as thyroid disease or chemotherapy, may weaken the heart muscle. Things you can’t control, like your family history, might also increase your risk of heart disease. But even so, leading a heart-healthy lifestyle might help you avoid or delay serious illness.

Source: NIA (NIH)2

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The main underlying cause of CVD is atherosclerosis, where abnormal deposits of fat, cholesterol and other substances build up in the inner lining of the arteries to form plaque. Atherosclerosis is most serious when it leads to reduced or blocked blood supply to the heart (causing angina or heart attack) or to the brain (causing stroke). Atherosclerosis is slow and complex, often starting in childhood and progressing with age.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare3

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It's usually associated with a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries - known as atherosclerosis - and an increased risk of blood clots. It can also be associated with damage to arteries in organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys and eyes.

Source: NHS Choices UK4

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Causes of CVD

The exact cause of CVD isn't clear, but there are lots of things that can increase your risk of getting it. These are called "risk factors".

The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing CVD.

If you're over 40, you'll be invited by your GP for an NHS Health Check every five years. Part of this check involves assessing your individual CVD risk and advising you how to reduce it if necessary.

Source: NHS Choices UK5

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Turner Syndrome: Section research has shown that malformations of cardiac veins are more common than originally thought, occurring in more than 20% of women with Turner syndrome. Research also discovered a new abnormality of the aorta, common in up to half of women with Turner syndrome. The abnormality, called elongated transverse arch of the aorta, appears to put women at risk for aortic complications.

Source: NICHD (NIH)6

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Menopause: Hormonal changes. Changes in estrogen levels after menopause could make women more likely to have heart problems. Most women with cardiac syndrome X are postmenopausal or are going through menopause.[6]

Source: OWH (DHHS)7

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Rubella congenital syndrome: 85% of babies infected during the first 8 weeks after conception will have a major congenital abnormality such as deafness, blindness, brain damage, or a heart defect.

Source: New Zealand Health8

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Neonatal Sjögren's syndrome: Most women with Sjögren's syndrome can get pregnant and have healthy babies.

But if you're planning a pregnancy, it's a good idea to get advice from your GP or specialist because there's a small risk of complications in some women.

These include:

Source: NHS Choices UK9

Causes List for Heart Disease

Some of the possible causes of Heart Disease or similar disorders may include:10

... Full Causes List for Heart Disease »

Genetics of Heart Disease

Family History—Family history plays a role in CHD risk. Your risk increases if your father or a brother was diagnosed with CHD before 55 years of age, or if your mother or a sister was diagnosed with CHD before ...11

... More on Genetics »

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  1. Source: NCBI, Genes and Disease (NCBI/NIH): books/ NBK22227/ 
  2. Source: NIA (NIH): health/ heart-health
  3. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: reports-statistics/ health-conditions-disability-deaths/ heart-stroke-vascular-diseases/ about
  4. Source: NHS Choices UK: conditions/ Cardiovascular-disease/ 
  5. ibid.
  6. Source: NICHD (NIH): health/ topics/ turner/ researchinfo/ pages/ activities.aspx
  7. Source: OWH (DHHS): heart-disease-and-stroke/ heart-disease/ heart-disease-and-women
  8. Source: New Zealand Health: your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses/ rubella
  9. Source: NHS Choices UK: conditions/ sjogrens-syndrome/ complications/ 
  10. Source: Algorithmically Generated List
  11. Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH): magazine/ issues/ winter14/ articles/ winter14pg26-27.html

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.