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Cardiovascular disease: risk factors.

The health history helps determine what could be the cause of this patient’s cardiac symptoms. Therefore the nurse should not only assess the symptoms but also the family history of cardiac disease and the patient’s lifestyle or habits that could increase the chances of developing a heart disease.

However, there are modifiable risks factors that patients are able to control. For instance tobacco use, physical inactivity, stress, obesity, stress, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Smoking cigarettes play a significant role in the development of CVD, according to the CDC smoking cigarettes increases the chances of raising the patient’s triglycerides levels, lowers the patient’s HDL (good cholesterol) and Causes thickening and narrowing of blood vessels. High cholesterol is another important risk factor as it causes atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attacks and peripheral vascular disease. Obesity and physical inactivity are also examples of modifiable risk factors. According to the American heart association people who are obese (especially having excess body fat at the waist) are more likely to develop heart disease even if they have no other risk factors. Physical activity can help in lowering the blood pressure, cholesterol as well as it strengthens the heart muscles. Furthermore, diet can contribute to the development of heart disease. For instance, a diet that is high in saturated fat (which can cause atherosclerosis) and high in sodium (which increases the blood pressure) can be linked to heart disease. Lastly, stress is another important modifiable risk factors. Stressful events can trigger a temporary increase in blood pressure and it releases cortisol. According to the American heart association studies suggest that high levels of cortisol from long term stress increase the risk for high blood pressure even premature death from cardiovascular disease.

Examples of non-modifiable risk factors include age, gender, family history and race. According to the American heart association the majority of people who die of coronary heart disease are 65 or older. In addition to that men have a greater risk of developing heart disease than woman. Race is also another important factor that cannot be modified. According to the American heart association the chances of developing a heart disease is higher among African American Mexican Americans, American Indians, native Hawaiians and some Asian Americans. These are all examples of non-modifiable risks factors that unfortunately cannot be controlled by the patient.

Nursing assessment of the cardiovascular system includes a physical examination as well as the patient health history. According to Williams & Hopper (2011) a family history of cardiovascular disease is assessed because many cardiac problems are hereditary. According to the CDC, it is also likely that patients with a family history of heart disease may share common factors that increase their risk of developing a heart condition. Therefore, a family history of heart disease as well as the patient’s lifestyle play a prominent role in the development of heart disease.

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