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Effects of Lifestyle Choices on Atherosclerosis: A Mathematical Approach

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) cause more than 40% of all deaths in America [5,6]. Genetic predisposition and lifestyles choices such as smoking, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and other negative behavioral actions are common risk factors that increase the probability of developing CVDs. We construct a mathematical model of nonlinear differential equations to describe the dynamics of atherosclerosis, a precursor to other cardiovascular diseases. We divide the population by low and high genetic predisposition to developing CVDs. The population is then divided into healthy and unhealthy classes based on modifiable and non-modifiable lifestyles. We focus on two populations: African Americans and Caucasian Americans because of their different genetic predispositions to CVDs. The basic reproductive number, R 0, is calculated. Local stability of the unhealthy-free equilibrium is established. A sensitivity and uncertainity analysis is performed on the basic reproductive number. We conclude that the number of interactions between healthy an unhealthy individuals play a key role in reducing the progression to atherosclerosis.

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Lily I. D. Davidoff, Mount Holyoke College
Heather Harrington, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Ludguier D. Montejo, Whitman College
Danielle E. Robbins, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Fabio A. Sánchez, Cornell University
Baojun Song, Montclair University