Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading cause of death throughout the world. A significant proportion of mortality and morbidity is due to cardiovascular disease. In the United States, cardiovascular disease is the most common non-communicable disease and the rates of cardiovascular disease remain high in both the genders and increases with age.
Cardiovascular disease refers to the diseases that involve the heart of the blood vessels. Heart disease is a general term that is used to talk about the conditions that involve the heart. It majorly impacts the quality of life of an individual and there are many factors that contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level and certain environmental factors such as cigarette smoking. Environmental exposure is said to play an important role in cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality.
The total cardiovascular risk depends on an individual’s profile that is age. The risk for developing cardiovascular disease is more in older man as compared to an adult. The total risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease depends on the risk factors. For instance, physical inactivity and cigarette smoking both contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease but people who smoke are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease as compared to those who lack physical activity. Both these factors highly increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
There are different types of cardiovascular disease and some of the most common types are as follows:
Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease is one of the leading cause of death and this disease occurs when the coronary arteries become narrowed. Sometimes, a plaque which is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substance in the blood, builds up inside the coronary arteries. With time, the plaque narrows and results in reduced flow of blood in the arteries.
Coronary artery is responsible for bringing oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the heart muscles. When the coronary artery is partially blocked due to the buildup of plaque and is unable to carry enough blood to the heart muscle, it causes angina. And when the coronary artery is completely blocked, it causes a heart attack.
As the coronary arteries fail to carry oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the heart muscle, over time it can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure and arrhythmia. Arrhythmia, also known as dysrhythmia is a condition in which the heartbeat becomes irregular. Either it becomes too fast or it becomes too low. Most often, arrhythmia has no symptoms but in severe cases, it causes symptoms like shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and chest pain. There are many risk factor for coronary heart disease such as high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and obesity.
Atrial fibrillation is defined as a condition that involves the heart’s internal electrical system affecting heart rate and rhythm. Normally, certain cells in the heart make electric signals that cause the heart to contract and pump blood. The two small upper chambers of the heart, known as atria play an important role for the heart to pump properly. In atrial fibrillation, the atria functions abnormally, it beats irregularly and too fast. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia.
Atrial fibrillation is associated with many complications and one of the severe complication associated with this disorder is that it can lead to the formation of a clot inside the atria. When the atria fail to beat properly, the blood does not flow normally to the heart. This results in the collection of blood and an increased risk of clot formation. This clot can then break off and be carried to the blood vessels until they got stuck. This blocks the blood supply to the organs of the body and when the supply of blood to the brain is disrupted, it causes a stroke.
Congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure is a chronic clinical syndrome which is characterized by the heart’s inability to pump enough blood in order to fulfill the needs of the human body. Normally, left ventricle receives blood from the lungs and pumps blood through the arteries to the brain and internal organs of the body. When the left ventricle becomes weak, it triggers the symptoms of congestive heart failure such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and dizziness. Most often, ventricular dysfunction results from myocardial infarction, hypertension and in many cases both. Some of the factors that increase the risk of developing congestive heart failure include coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, heart valve disorders, thyroid disorders, and alcohol abuse.
Ways to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease
The heart is a vital organ and it is essential to take care of it. Some of the ways through which the risk of developing cardiovascular disease can be reduced are as follows:
- Do regular physical activity and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Do not smoke.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Avoid alcohol abuse.