by AK Team
WHAT IS CARDIOVSCULAR DISEASE?
Cardiovascular disease (CVDs) is a general term that is used collectively for the conditions that affect the heart and the blood vessels.
Cardiovascular diseases are generally associated with the accumulation of fat deposits inside the arteries and that condition is known as atherosclerosis and this can even increase the risk of blood clots.
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the main causes of death in individuals , but it can often be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle.
TYPES OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
Cardio-vascular is a term that represents both the heart as well the blood vessels. So there are a number of types of diseases that affect the heart and the blood vessels.
Types of diseases that affect the cardiac, that is the heart :
- Abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias :
In arrhythmias, the heart can either beat too quickly or too slowly or irregularly
- Angina :
Angina is a type of chest pain that occurs due to decreased amount of blood flow in the heart
- Congenital heart disease :
Congenital heart disease is a condition in which a defect with either heart function or with structure of the heart is present from the birth itself.
- Coronary artery disease :
Coronary arteries are the arteries of the heart that supply blood to the heart muscles itself. Coronary artery disease is a condition in which these coronary arteries of the heart are affected.
- Heart failure :
Heart failure is a condition wherein the heart cannot do its systolic (contraction) and diastolic (relaxation) functions properly.
- Heart attack :
Heart attack is the sudden blockage of the heart’s blood flow and the oxygen supply is also blocked.
- Dilated cardiomyopathy :
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a type of heart failure n which the hearts dilates itself, that is it gets larger is not able to pump blood efficiently to all parts of the body. In early stages of dilated cardiomyopathy the symptoms cannot be observed, but as the condition worsens the symptoms may start to appear.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy :
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart muscle walls get thicken and problems with the relaxation of the heart muscle, blood flow, and electrical stability start to develop.
- Pulmonary stenosis :
Stenosis is a condition in which a structure of the heart or blood vessel get narrowed up which increases the speed of blood flow and then the valves eventually tend to close up blocking the blood flow.
Pulmonary stenosis is narrowing of the pulmonary artery and this reduces the blood flow from the right ventricle (that pumps the deoxygenated blood to the lungs) to the pulmonary artery (blood vessel that carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs).
- Aortic stenosis :
Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of heart valve that can eventually cause blockage to blood flow.
- Mitral regurgitation :
Mitral regurgitation is a condition in which the mitral or the bicuspid valve does not close completely and this causes the blood to backflow from the ventricle to the aorta during ventricular systole (contraction).
- Mitral valve prolapse :
In mitral valve prolapse, a part of mitral valve bulges into the left atrium of the heart while it contracts and this causes mitral regurgitation.
- Radiation heart disease :
In radiation heart disease, radiation to the chest can lead to damage to the heart valves and blood vessels.
- Rheumatic heart disease :
It is a complication of strep throat that causes inflammation in the heart and this can also affect the function of heart valves.
Types of diseases that affect the vascular system, that is the arteries, veins or capillaries:
This is a very common type of vascular disease, in which plaque forms along the walls of blood vessels due to the deposition of fat. They get narrowed over time and the flow of oxygen rich blood is blocked through them.
- Peripheral artery disease:
This causes the arteries to get narrowed and reduces the blood flow to the limbs.
Aneurysm is a bulge or enlargement in an artery that can rupture over a period of time and can cause bleeding.
- Raynaud’s disease:
This causes arteries to spasm and can temporarily restrict blood flow through them.
- Peripheral venous disease:
Peripheral venous disease is a damage to the veins that transfer the deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Due to their damage, the veins cannot transfer back blood to the heart from the legs and arms and as the result the legs and arms get swelled up.
- Buerger’s disease:
This leads to blood clots and inflammation often in the legs which may result into gangrene.
CAUSES OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
The causes of cardiovascular diseases entirely depend on the type of cardiovascular disease it is. However there are some common and general causes are listed below:
- High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia)
- Tobacco use
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Family history of heart disease
- Excessive alcohol use
- Diet rich sodium, sugar and fat
- Preeclampsia or toxemia
- Gestational diabetes
- Chronic inflammatory or autoimmune conditions
- Chronic kidney disease
SYMPTOMS OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
The symptoms of cardiovascular diseases depend on their cause. However, some typical and common symptoms of an underlying cardiovascular issue may include the following symptoms:
- Cold sweats
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest (can be a signal for angina)
- Pain or discomfort in the arms, elbows, back or jaw
- Light headedness or dizziness
- Fluid build up
- Heart palpitations (heart racing)
- Pain or numbness in legs or arms
- Abdominal pain
DIAGNOSIS OF CARDIOVASCULAR DIEASES
The cardiovascular diseases are generally diagnoses by certain tests and machines. However the doctor first might perform some clinical examination on the patient.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Holter monitoring
- Stress test
- Cardiac catheterization
- Cardiac computerized tomography (CT scan)
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
TREATMENT OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
The type of treatment a person receives entirely depends on the type of cardiovascular disease he or she is having. The treatment for CVDs usually includes:
- Simple lifestyle changes
- Medical procedures or surgery
- Cardiac rehabilitation
PREVENTION OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
Cardiovascular diseases can easily be prevented by following some of the following steps:
- Managing body weight
- Following a heart – healthy diet
- Quit smoking
- Doing regular exercises
- Managing stress
- Limiting alcohol consume
- Keeping cholesterol levels under control