Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is defined as disease of the heart or the blood vessels. According to the American Heart Association, 34.3 percent of all deaths (1 out of 2.9) are related to CVD. Dr. Lydia Bazzano studies population level risk factors for the development of CVD. She studies many potential factors to see if and how they contribute to CVD. They include nutrition, lifestyle, and also other diseases. Age is a risk factor for CVD, which is the number one killer among the elderly.
In many studies, participants might begin by with a questionnaire about lifestyle choices. Do you smoke? How active are you? Collecting details about what factors are present is often followed by a physical check up. This could include a bone density scan or a waist circumference measurement. In follow-up or cohort studies, the participants then check in every few years. These people either develop CVD or they don't. The people who do are compared with those who don't. They analyze this to help determine which risk factors were present for one and not the other. If a risk factor shows up in multiple cases, they look into it more closely to see if it results in the development of CVD.
"Some of the factors that we have identified as potential hazards are food choices over time, smoking, stress levels and lack of exercise. Eating legumes such as beans, peas, and peanuts and eating fruits and vegetables help prevent CVD. Drinking juices is not as helpful since the fruit contains a lot of sugar. Folic acid which was once suggested to help prevent CVD is no longer believed to do so. Soluble fiber reduces cholesterol which reduces your chances of CVD. However supplements are not as helpful. Your body does much better with just getting the nutrients from whole foods. Overall eating healthy and getting exercise will help prevent you from getting CVD."
"If you are one of the people who have already suffered from CVD, such as a heart attack, and you do not have hypertension, taking medication for hypertension to keep your blood pressure down has been shown to help prevent a reoccurrence of CVD."