Determinants of Health

Determinants of health contributing to cardiovascular disease
Biological determinants
Some biological risk factors can increase the chances of cardiovascular disease and some occur as a result of it. The biological risk factors for cardiovascular disease include:
• Being overweight and obese. Increased body weight usually places greater strain on the heart. There is also an increased risk of high levels of cholesterol in the blood and a higher risk of hypertension.
• Having high blood pressure, which is an indicator that the heart is already working harder to pump the blood
• Having high blood cholesterol, which increases the risk of plaque building up on artery walls (atherosclerosis), making it harder for the blood to get through
• Having a genetic predisposition. Having family members (particularly in the immediate family) with cardiovascular disease increases the risk of cardio vascular disease.
• Being male. Men carry more fat around the abdomen, which places them at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
• Hormones. Testosterone may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and oestrogen may also play a protective role (although the results from studies researching this are inconclusive at the time of writing).
• Advancing age. Basal metabolism slows as people age, making weight management more difficult. The heart also loses its efficiency as people age, contributing to cardiovascular disease.

Behavioural determinants
There are many behavioural determinants that increase an individual’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Therefore many opportunities exist to prevent cardiovascular disease. The behavioural determinants that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease include:
• Tobacco smoking, which increases blood pressure and contributes to plaque building up on artery walls
• Excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol contains a lot of kilojoules. If these kilojoules are not used, then it increases the chance of becoming...