Edexcel International A Level Biology

Revision Notes

1.12 Reducing Risk Factors of CVD

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CVD Risk Factors

  • There are many lifestyle factors that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD)
    • CVD is a general term for conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels
    • It is usually associated with
      • Atherosclerosis; the formation of hard plaques in the artery lining
      • Thrombosis; the formation of blood clots in the arteries
  • Risk factors are factors that can be linked to an increased risk of a disease
    • Exposure to a risk factor doesn’t guarantee that an individual will suffer a disease, e.g. a person who smokes regularly isn’t guaranteed to develop lung cancer but their risk compared to someone who doesn’t smoke is much higher
    • Certain risk factors are correlated with certain diseases, but correlations are not always causations
  • Risk factors can be
    • Aspects of a person’s lifestyle such as the food they eat or whether or not they drink alcohol
    • Substances in a person’s body or environment such as air pollution in a crowded city or asbestos in old buildings
    • Genetic predispositions to developing certain diseases
    • Other biological factors such as age or biological sex
  • Many diseases are caused by the interaction of a number of factors
    • E.g. the chance of developing CVD is higher in individuals who have a diet high in cholesterol, don’t exercise regularly, and smoke; all of these behaviours increase the likelihood of damage occurring to the arteries
  • Some factors, such as those related to lifestyle, are to some extent under the control of the individual
    • It is usually possible to make decisions about diet, smoking, alcohol intake, and exercise levels
    • Note that scientists are becoming increasingly aware that the best choices are easier to make for some than others; unhealthy food choices are often cheaper and easier, and not everyone has time to exercise
  • Other factors are outside of an individual's control, such as genetics, biological sex, and age

Lifestyle Factors Linked to CVD Table


Other Factors Linked to CVD Table


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Naomi graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in Biological Sciences. She has 8 years of classroom experience teaching Key Stage 3 up to A-Level biology, and is currently a tutor and A-Level examiner. Naomi especially enjoys creating resources that enable students to build a solid understanding of subject content, while also connecting their knowledge with biology’s exciting, real-world applications.