Although there are many factors that influence cardiovascular health, obesity is one of the most important. Being overweight can have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system because excess weight can raise blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension is one of the leading causes of heart attack and stroke. By lowering blood pressure, you are also reducing your risk of a cardiovascular event. Even losing five or ten pounds can have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and can lower blood pressure a modest amount. Limited your caloric intake and starting an exercise program can help peel off excess pounds. Individuals should not start a new diet and exercise program without speaking to a health care professional, however.