High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Elevated blood pressure is a leading risk factor for both heart disease and stroke. Over time, high blood pressure can damage the arteries, making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing), which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
High Cholesterol Levels: Elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often referred to as "bad" cholesterol, can contribute to the formation of plaque in the arteries. This plaque buildup can lead to atherosclerosis and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Smoking and Tobacco Use: Smoking and the use of tobacco products significantly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that can damage blood vessels, reduce the oxygen supply to the heart, and contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.
Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Diabetes can contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases by affecting the blood vessels and increasing the levels of glucose in the blood, leading to inflammation and damage to the arteries.
Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of regular physical activity is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, lowers blood pressure, and improves overall cardiovascular health. A sedentary lifestyle, characterized by prolonged periods of inactivity, can contribute to obesity and other risk factors.