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Heart disease and stroke are related in several ways. The best way to understand the relationship between these two debilitating and dangerous conditions is to first define them.

A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular insult or CVI, occurs when blood does not flow to your brain properly, resulting in the death of several brain cells. The effect is parts of your brain begin to function improperly, which sometimes results in the typical stroke symptom of lacking feeling on one side of your body.

Cardiovascular disease or CVD, known by many as heart disease, is actually a group of diseases. They may affect either your blood vessels or your heart; hypertension, atrial fibrillation and endocarditis and stroke are some common heart diseases. In the case of stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD) and ischemic heart disease (IHD), atherosclerosis is involved at some level.

What is Atherosclerosis? It is when your artery walls are becoming too thick, restricting blood flow. This can lead to many of the heart diseases just mentioned, including stroke. Atherosclerosis is also referred to as arteriosclerotic vascular disease or ASVD, and is often caused by an accumulation of white blood cells.

Atherosclerosis can be caused by any number of conditions or behaviors. If you suffer from a poor diet and nutrition, eating too few fruits, vegetables and whole grains and a lot of processed, fatty foods, can lead to obesity and high blood pressure. Those are the 2 leading causes of atherosclerosis, which can contribute to stroke and heart disease.

Doctors found that a very sedentary lifestyle accompanied by little exercise, smoking, high blood cholesterol, excessive alcohol consumption and diabetes can all lead to the thickening of your artery walls.

The Simplest Prevention for Stroke and Heart Disease. The easiest way to lower your chances or even prevent the development of heart disease or experiencing a stroke is through proper diet and exercise. When you eat sensibly (less salt, sugar, fried and fast foods, more fruits, whole grains and vegetables), your body automatically takes care of itself. The same is true with exercise, which helps regulate a healthy blood flow and oxygen movement throughout your body.

Those two preventive measures for stroke and heart disease also help boost your immune system. This means that your body is better prepared to fight all diseases and infections, not just those which attack your heart and blood flow. Especially if you have a history of heart problems in your family, start eating smart today. Exercise 3 to 5 times a week, standing and walking instead of sitting whenever you can. The benefits will be a longer, healthier life, and you may be able to avoid any type of heart condition altogether