Cardiovascular diseases include a spectrum of disorders involving the cardiovascular system, consisting of two major components: the heart and blood vessels. Common cardiovascular diseases include:
Coronary artery disease (CAD): More commonly referred to as heart failure or myocardial infarction (MI), this condition is about one-third to one-half of cardiovascular disease cases.
Cerebrovascular diseases: Examples include stroke.
Atherosclerosis: This condition is caused by plaques of cholesterol that accumulate inside the lumen of the artery and block arteries of the heart resulting in coronary heart disease or limb arteries. This condition can then result in peripheral artery disease.
Valvular heart disease: Diseases that involve the heart’s valves might result in regurgitation (backward leaking) or stenosis (tightening of valves).
Arrhythmia: The abnormal rhythm of the heart is commonly referred to as arrhythmia. This condition might affect heart rate or overall cause heart failure.
Causes of Cardiovascular Diseases
There are many reasons that cardiovascular disease occurs. Here are common reasons:
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Defective valves
Risk factors for CVD include:
- Persistently raised blood pressure, also known as hypertension
- High cholesterol levels
- Diabetes mellitus, as well as gestational diabetes, increase the risk of development of heart diseases
- Alcohol abuse
- Chronic illnesses such as chronic kidney disease
- Obesity or sedentary lifestyle
Symptoms of Cardiovascular Diseases
The symptoms of different cardiovascular diseases depend upon the type of cardiovascular disease. Symptoms may include:
- Chest pain radiating to the left arm or jaw
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of lower limbs
- Increased sweating and anxiety
Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases
Patients suffering from CVD will receive a custom plan from their doctor. Treatments typically include the following.
- Lifestyle changes: Obesity and smoking are significant risk factors for heart diseases. Therefore, your doctor may suggest increasing physical activity and quitting all tobacco use.
- Medical treatment: Certain medications, paired with lifestyle changes, may be part of the treatment plan for CVD.
- Surgery: Some examples of procedures performed are bypass surgery, minimally invasive heart surgery, or stent insertion.
- Cardiac rehabilitation: A team of doctors and physicians would guide you throughout and right after surgery so that you can perform your day-to-day activities.
Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases
Preventing CVD is not always possible, mainly because conditions can be hereditary. However, you can reduce the risk by taking the following actions:
- Quit smoking and avoid tobacco use
- Control diabetes and hypertension
- Eat a healthy diet
- Aerobic exercises regularly
- Decrease intake of sodium and cholesterol to prevent hypertension and atherosclerosis
- Limit alcohol use
- Stress management to decrease the risk of cardiovascular events
If you feel you may be at risk for any of the cardiovascular diseases listed, please consult your doctor.
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