Cardiovascular disease is one of the significant causes of death in the world. There can be various causes and symptoms. However, lifestyle changes show many positive results.
Lack of awareness about the types of cardiovascular diseases leads to delays in their treatment. An early diagnosis can be made through regular check-ups and knowing the symptoms.
Statistics show that two persons die every minute due to cardiovascular disease in the US alone. The figure is much higher when we analyze the worldwide mortality rate. Cardiovascular disease treatment costs around $250 billion each year in the US.
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
It is a disease that affects the normal functioning of blood vessels and the heart. Smoking, high cholesterol, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, and obesity are major causes of high blood pressure and heart diseases.
The most common forms of heart disease are blocked coronary arteries, chest pain, stroke, and heart attack. In addition, heart pace problems, heart problems at the time of birth, and an inflamed layer of the heart are other major heart problems.
Some Common Causes of Cardiovascular Diseases
There are various causes of cardiovascular diseases. The most probable cause is related to defects in the arteries. It can be due to plaque build-up in the arteries, narrowing arteries, or weakening of heart muscles.
The significant causes of heart diseases are as follows:
An unhealthy diet is the leading cause of high cholesterol levels. There are two variants of cholesterol – the good and the bad. HDL is considered good cholesterol that promotes the creation of hormones and optimal bile function. LDL is the bad cholesterol that creates a blockage in the coronary arteries. Too much bad cholesterol narrows the arteries restricting the blood flow.
Smoking not only causes cancer, but it is also dangerous for your heart. Smoking and chewing tobacco surge the risk of heart disease. Smoking increases blood pressure and can cause blood clotting. Medical research shows that tobacco consumption increases the risk of heart disease by three times.
A family history of heart disease can also be a significant cause of coronary problems. Heredity reasons are visible in many patients having coronary heart disease.
High blood pressure is a primary reason for heart disease. It is a severe condition that arises mainly due to a lack of exercise and an inactive lifestyle. Too much salt intake and consumption of alcohol are also reasons for hypertension. People with high blood pressure are at increased risk of heart disease.
Types of Cardiovascular Diseases
There are various types of cardiovascular diseases. Some of these cardiovascular conditions are by birth, while many occur due to poor lifestyle. Cardiovascular disease treatment is complicated, expensive, and risky. It is far better to adopt preventive measures than to treat the ailment. Small changes in lifestyle and eating habits make a tremendous difference in combating heart diseases.
Some of the common types of heart diseases are:
1. Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease causes blockages in the blood vessels hindering the blood supply to the heart. The ailment starts when the arteries harden due to plaque deposits of harmful cholesterol. In addition, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes are significant contributors to this disease.
Symptoms – The most common sign is angina or chest pain which can lead to a heart attack. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the upper body, and pain in the arm, jaw, or neck. Symptoms are dependent on the type of blocked artery.
Treatment – if you develop an artery blockage, it will remain. Lifestyle changes, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can control damage to arteries. A timely diagnosis followed by medication and lifestyle changes can stop or slow the plague.
Arrhythmias is a cardiovascular disease concerning uneven heartbeat. The heartbeat is irregular and seems like it has skipped a beat. The heartbeat can be too fast or too slow; the problem can either be harmless or can be a life-threatening situation.
Symptoms – There can be no symptoms of this type of cardiovascular disease. Only your doctor can find the problem during the physical examination. Common symptoms may include pulse, dizziness, shortness of breath, and anxiety. Other symptoms include sweating, blurred vision, and tightening of the chest.
Treatment – Treatment of arrhythmia depends on the type and severity. A doctor may suggest medication in simple cases or advise vagal maneuvers such as cold wet towel therapy, holding your breath, coughing or gagging, and electrical cardio diversion. In severe cases, patients may require bypass surgery, a pacemaker, or defibrillation.
3. Heart Failure
Heart failure does not necessarily mean the heart has stopped functioning. However, it is a serious condition and will require immediate medical attention. The situation arises when a heart becomes weak and cannot supply sufficient blood to cells. The heart cannot contract and relax in this type of cardiovascular disease.
Symptoms – Heart failure significant symptoms include tightening of the chest, shortening of breath, reduced ability to exercise, fatigue and weakness. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, decreased alertness, quick weight gain because of fluid build-up, and persistent wheezing or cough.
Treatment – Treatment of heart failure depends on the severity. A doctor may suggest medication and lifestyle changes in the initial stages. A patient will require surgery, device implant, or bypass in complicated or advanced cases.
A disease of the heart muscles is called myocardium or cardiomyopathy. The heart becomes too weak to pump blood due to stretched or thickened muscles. There can be various reasons for this type of cardiovascular disease; it may occur due to specific drug reactions, heredity conditions, alcohol abuse, or infection from a virus or bacteria. It can occur due to chemotherapy treatment.
Symptoms – Like heart failure, significant signs of cardiomyopathy include tightening of the chest, shortening of breath, fatigue, and weakness.
Treatment – Treatment of cardiomyopathy includes medication and rest. A patient will require surgery, a device implant, or a heart transplant in complicated or advanced cases. A doctor may suggest lifestyle changes and stop the intake of salt and alcohol.
5. Heart Attack
It is a severe condition when blood flow to your heart is blocked. The heart is deprived of oxygen and stops functioning. The damaged tissues of the heart can be fatal or cause lifelong irreparable damage.
Symptoms – Angina is the primary symptom of a heart attack. In standard terms, it is heart pain due to a lack of blood flow to the heart. Heart attack symptoms include tightening the chest, shortening breath, fatigue, and weakness. In addition, there can be indigestion, sweating, anxiety, and a fast heartbeat.
Treatment – A heart attack requires immediate medical attention to save a life and control the damage, and the patient should be treated within one to two hours of the symptoms. The best thing is to call an emergency service number, call an ambulance or rush the patient to a hospital. A delayed response can be fatal.
6. Peripheral Artery Disease
Blocked arteries cause this type of cardiovascular disease in the arm and legs. It happens when arteries are narrowed or blocked due to plaque deposits in the arms and legs. The hard surface of plaque can crack, leading to the formation of blood clots that narrows the arteries or causes gangrene infection. It prevents blood flow to organs leading to a lack of oxygen in the tissues.
Symptoms – the early symptoms are pain and swelling in the legs that increases with activity and goes away with the legs. The patient may even notice pain in the calf and buttocks with numbness and weakness. Advanced symptoms include burning sensation in toes during the night, cold skin on feet, frequent infections, and reddening of toes.
Treatment – There are two stages in this type of cardiovascular disease treatment. The first is pain management, and the second is reducing the stroke/heart attack risk. Line of treatment advocates quitting tobacco, alcohol, and fatty food. It also includes regular moderate exercise and medication.
7. Aortic Aneurysm
Aorta is the largest artery that carries blood to the heart. It is swelling in the aorta walls – the heart’s main artery. In this type of cardiovascular disease, there is weakness in the aorta walls. It can occur due to a family history or an inactive lifestyle.
Symptoms – In most cases, people are unaware of this condition until the aorta walls rupture. Minor symptoms like dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and swelling in the arms and legs may indicate an aortic aneurysm. In addition, the patient may have symptoms like difficulty swallowing and abdominal or chest pain.
Treatment – In this type of cardiovascular disease treatment, the main aim is to prevent artery bursts. For more minor problems, medication is adequate. However, a severe condition needs surgery.
Cardiovascular disease is easier to treat if diagnosed early. It is crucial to monitor your health and have a healthy lifestyle. Making small changes in your diet and quitting tobacco, excess alcohol, and salt intake help manage heart health.