NUR-2063 Rasmussen College – Heart disease remains one of the top causes of mortality in the Unites States. Consider the various types of heart disease covered in class this


Heart disease remains one of the top causes of mortality in the Unites States. Consider the various types of heart disease covered in class this week. For your discussion, complete these items:

  • The etiology of the selected heart disease
  • Modifiable factors
  • Non-modifiable factors


Understanding Heart Disease: Etiology, Modifiable, and Non-Modifiable Factors


Heart disease continues to be one of the leading causes of mortality in the United States, accounting for a significant number of deaths each year. It encompasses a range of conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, arrhythmias, and valvular heart disease. In this essay, we will discuss the etiology of heart disease, as well as the modifiable and non-modifiable factors that contribute to its development.

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Etiology of Heart Disease

Heart disease typically develops due to a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. One of the primary causes is atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries, leading to the narrowing and hardening of these blood vessels (Lusis, 2000). Atherosclerosis is often initiated by endothelial dysfunction, where the inner lining of the blood vessels becomes damaged, promoting inflammation and the deposition of cholesterol. Over time, these plaques can rupture, causing blood clots that can block blood flow to the heart, resulting in a heart attack.

Modifiable Factors

Several modifiable factors contribute to the development of heart disease, and addressing these factors can help reduce the risk. These include:

Poor Diet: Consuming a diet high in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars increases the risk of heart disease (Willett, 2006). A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help prevent its onset.

Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of regular physical activity is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Engaging in regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Tobacco Use: Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are detrimental to heart health. Smoking damages the blood vessels, decreases oxygen levels, and increases the risk of blood clots. Quitting smoking significantly reduces the risk of heart disease.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Heavy and prolonged alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, and arrhythmias (Willett, 2006). Limiting alcohol intake to moderate levels can help protect the heart.

Obesity: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing heart disease. Maintaining a healthy weight through balanced eating habits and regular exercise is crucial for heart health.

Non-Modifiable Factors

While modifiable factors play a significant role, certain non-modifiable factors also contribute to the development of heart disease. These include:

Age: The risk of heart disease increases with age. Men over 45 and women over 55 are at higher risk of developing heart disease (Rodgers et al., 2019).

Gender: Men are generally at higher risk of heart disease than premenopausal women. However, the risk for women increases after menopause, partly due to the decline in estrogen levels.

Family History: A family history of heart disease significantly increases an individual’s risk (Rodgers et al., 2019). If a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, has experienced heart disease, the risk is higher.

Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, have a higher incidence of heart disease compared to other populations.


Understanding the etiology of heart disease and identifying the modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors are crucial for prevention and management strategies. While some factors, such as age and genetics, cannot be changed, lifestyle modifications targeting diet, exercise, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and weight management can have a substantial impact on reducing the risk of heart disease. By addressing both modifiable and non-modifiable factors, individuals can take proactive steps towards maintaining a healthy heart and reducing the burden of heart disease in the United States.


Lusis, A. J. (2000). Atherosclerosis. Nature, 407(6801), 233–241. 

Willett, W. C. (2006). Prevention of Chronic Disease by Means of Diet and Lifestyle Changes. Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries – NCBI Bookshelf.

Rodgers, J. A., Jones, J., Bolleddu, S. I., Vanthenapalli, S., Rodgers, L. E., Shah, K., Karia, K., & Panguluri, S. K. (2019). Cardiovascular Risks Associated with Gender and Aging. Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease, 6(2), 19. 

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