2019 Volume 7 Pages 68-83
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. CVDs were responsible for approximately 31% of all global deaths in 2016, and 85% of all CVD deaths are due to heart attack and stroke. The underlying process in the blood vessels that results in heart attack and stroke is atherosclerosis. A recent study indicated that exposure to environmental toxic heavy metals is associated with an increased risk of CVDs. In this review, we focus on several heavy metals as environmental risk factors for CVDs: arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium and iron. The pathological contribution of these heavy metals to the alternation of two molecular mechanisms: the renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) and oxidative stress has been discussed. The etiology of heavy metal-induced CVDs is viewed from the perspective of RAAS and oxidative stress. The significance of environmental improvement for better health will also be considered.