Causes of Cardiovascular Disease

There are over 60 types of cardiovascular disease. Due to the extensive range of illnesses, the specific causes will depend largely on the particular disease in question. For some types of cardiovascular disease, the cause is unknown (such as for atherosclerosis and high blood pressure). For others, typical causes include blocked or narrowed arteries, atherosclerosis, and ruptured blood vessels.

Causes of Cardiovascular Disease: An Introduction

The causes of cardiovascular disease depend on the specific cardiovascular disease in question. This may seem confusing, but cardiovascular disease is not actually one disease -- rather, it is a name used to describe any disease that affects the heart or blood vessels. In fact, there are over 60 different types of cardiovascular disease (see Cardiovascular Disease Types).
 

Examples of Different Causes of Cardiovascular Disease

The following table lists different cardiovascular disease causes for specific conditions.
 
Cardiovascular Disease or Condition
Cause
Link to More Information
Temporary decrease in oxygen and nutrients to heart muscle, most commonly from coronary artery disease
Not known
Coronary artery disease
Atherosclerosis
Severely narrowed or completely blocked coronary artery from a blood clot
Severely narrowed or completely blocked artery in the brain or the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain
Not known
Damaged or weakened heart muscle, most commonly from:
 
A number of possible causes
Weakening of a vein's one-way valve
Weakening of a vein's one-way valve
Not known
 
(If you are interested in specific causes for certain conditions not listed above, click Cardiovascular Disease Types, and then click the specific condition.)
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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