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Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease: Introduction

"Coronary heart disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among adults in both North America and Europe."

It behooves divers to be aware of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, especially atherosclerosis, and of specific measures they can take to mitigate them. Atherosclerosis — popularly known as "hardening of the arteries" — is the most common affliction of the heart. Its prevalence increases with age, and it causes premature death in many people. Indeed, it is often assumed to be associated with normal aging. However, the disorder can be prevented — or at least slowed down — and a physically active lifestyle extended well into older age.

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