Globally, heart disease brings the highest number of deaths, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. Typically, people develop heart diseases without even knowing it or coming across warning signs. However, you can prevent serious heart diseases and problems by understanding early signs and risk factors. Despite being deadly, cardiovascular diseases can be prevented in most cases. If you adopt healthy lifestyle practices early in life, you could live longer and be healthier.
Heart disease comes in different forms. What are they?
There are a variety of diseases and symptoms associated with heart disease. These are some of the causes of heart disease:
- Arrhythmia – A rhythm problem in the heart is known as arrhythmia.
- Atherosclerosis – It is the formation of hardened arteries that causes atherosclerosis.
- Cardiomyopathy – Hardening of heart muscles, leading to weakness.
- Congenital heart defects – Genetic defects that affect the heart at birth are called congenital heart defects.
- Coronary artery disease (CAD) – In coronary artery disease, plaque builds up in the heart’s arteries. Occasionally, this is referred to as ischemic heart disease.
- Heart infections – Infections of the heart can happen because of bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
Various diseases of the heart that affect the vessels are described as cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular disease symptoms: what are they?
Cardiovascular diseases can produce a variety of symptoms depending on their type.
A rhythmic abnormality of the heart is an arrhythmia. You may experience different symptoms depending on the type of arrhythmia you have, such as extremely fast or extremely slow heartbeats. These are some of the symptoms of an arrhythmia:
- Feeling lightheaded
- Raced or fluttering heartbeat
- Slow pulse
- Feelings of fainting
- Feeling dizzy
- Pain in the chest
Your extremities receive less blood as a result of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is characterized by symptoms such as the following:
- A feeling of cold, especially in the limbs
- A numb feeling, especially in the limbs
- An unexplained or unusual pain
- Weakness in your arms and legs
Congenital heart defects
Heart defects during birth occur naturally in a growing fetus. It’s not unusual for heart defects to go undetected. The following symptoms may be a sign that they are present:
- Blue-tinted skin
- Extreme swelling
- Insufficiency of oxygen or difficulty breathing
- Feeling fatigued and drained
- An irregular heartbeat
Those with cardiomyopathy experience rigid, thick, or weak heart muscles due to a condition that makes the heart muscles grow stronger. The following symptoms are associated with this condition:
- Feeling fatigued
- Swollen ankles and feet, especially on the legs
- Breathing problems
- An abnormally rapid pulse or pounding
Conditions such as endocarditis or myocarditis are included in the term heart infection. It is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Pain in the chest
- Coughing or chest congestion
- Skin rash
Heart disease: what causes it?
There are many diseases and conditions that influence the cardiovascular system that causes heart disease. Heart diseases are caused by different factors based on various conditions. An arterial plaque buildup results in artery diseases such as atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. The following list describes the causes of other types of heart disease.
There are several causes of abnormal heart rhythms, including:
- Congenital heart defects and other heart defects
- Herbal remedies, vitamins, and supplements
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Caffeine and alcohol consumption excessive
- Addictions to substances
- Anxiety and stress
- Heart disease or damage
Causes of Congenital heart disease
The disease occurs in pregnant women while their babies are still developing. Researchers aren’t sure what causes most types of congenital heart disease. Some congenital heart diseases are passed down through families (inherited).
Having a heart that ages can also lead to changes in its structure. There could be complications and problems resulting from this heart defect.
Causes of cardiomyopathy
Cardiomyopathies come in many forms. Types result from different conditions.
Dilation of the heart muscle.
There is no clear cause for this most common form of cardiomyopathy, which results in a weakened heart. The condition is caused often by previous heart damage, such as a drug reaction, infection, or heart attack. Also, it can be due to uncontrolled blood pressure or a genetic condition.
Cardiomyopathy with hypertrophy.
The thickening of the muscle is a consequence of this heart disease. It is usually inherited.
A rigid heart wall results from a type of cardiomyopathy for which it is often unclear what causes it. The cause of this disease may be the accumulation of scar tissue or an abnormal protein buildup called amyloidosis.
Heart infection causes
An infection in the heart is most often caused by bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Keeping infections in our bodies from developing into serious diseases can also harm our hearts.
Which factors contribute to heart disease?
Heart disease is associated with many risk factors. There are some things we can control, and others we can’t. Heart disease can be caused by several other different factors, including:
- High blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels are high and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol levels are low
- Physical inactivity
One of the things you can do to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease is to quit smoking. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) research indicates that people who smoke have doubled their risk of heart disease. High blood glucose levels make diabetics more likely to suffer from heart disease by increasing their chances of:
- Anginal pain
- Attack of the heart
- Heart attack
In order to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, it is important to control your glucose levels if you have diabetes. Cardiovascular disease risk doubles for people who have both high blood pressure and diabetes.
Uncontrollable risk factors
The following are other risk factors for heart disease:
- History of the family
Are there any treatments for heart disease?
Treatment of heart disease varies according to how far the disease has advanced, and the type of heart disease you have. You might be prescribed an antibiotic by your doctor if you have a heart infection, for instance. You may be prescribed a medication that would reduce the chances of you having additional plaque buildup along with helping you adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Treatment options for heart diseases are divided into three categories:
Changes in lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle reduces your risk of heart disease. You can also get treatment to prevent the condition from deteriorating. Changes to your diet are one of the first areas you may wish to improve. Reduce your risk of developing heart disease complications by eating a low-sodium, low-fat diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. This, along with regular exercise can help treat heart disease. Reducing your alcohol and or nicotine consumption is also a good idea.
It may be necessary to take medication to treat certain heart conditions. You can ask your physician to prescribe you a medication that can treat or control the symptoms of heart disease. The risk for complications may also be slowed or prevented with medication. If you suffer from heart disease, your physician will prescribe you medication according to the type of disease you have.
Procedures that require surgery or invasive techniques
To prevent symptoms of heart disease and treat underlying heart conditions, surgery or a medical procedure may be needed in some cases. If you have an arterial plaque that blocks your blood flow, you may need a stent implanted to restore blood flow to those arteries. Your doctor will decide what type of procedure you need based on the type of heart disease and the severity of your heart condition.
How can I prevent heart disease?
Family history is an example of a risk factor associated with heart disease, that you can’t control, as is your medical history. Although you can reduce the risk of developing heart disease by lowering risk factors that you can control.
Keeping good cholesterol and blood pressure numbers is important
The first step to having a healthy heart is to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol level. Measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), blood pressure is the absolute measurement of pressure in the body. Systolic pressure is measured when the heart is contracting whereas diastolic pressure is measured when it is relaxing. Healthy blood pressure measures less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, as expressed as “120/80 mm Hg.”. When the heart is resting, the diastolic measurement is taken. Increasing these numbers indicates that your heart is working too hard to pump blood.
It is important to consider your risk factors and heart history when deciding on your ideal cholesterol level. People with heart disease or diabetes, or those who have already suffered a heart attack, have target levels below those with low or average risk.
Manage your stress in a healthy way
Managing stress has proven to lower heart disease risk as well, as simple as the concept sounds. The impact of chronic stress on heart disease should not be underestimated. If you’re frequently overwhelmed, anxious, or going through stressful events in your life such as moving, changing jobs, or going through a divorce, talk to your doctor.
Make a healthy lifestyle a priority
Regular exercise and healthy eating are also important. Eat foods low in saturated fat and salt to keep your heart healthy. For a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise a week, doctors recommend 30 to 60 minutes of exercise on most days. If you have a heart condition, you should check with your doctor about whether you can safely meet these guidelines.
Quit smoking if you do. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which causes blood vessels to constrict, preventing oxygenated blood from circulating. As a result, atherosclerosis may develop.
How can lifestyle changes help prevent heart disease?
You can stay as healthy as possible once you have a heart condition diagnosed, so speak with your doctor about your options. Making a detailed list of your everyday habits will help you prepare for the appointment. The following topics are possible:
- Medicines you take
- Exercise as part of your routine
- What you eat on a typical day
- If you have ever had a stroke or heart attack in your family
- Hypertension or diabetes in your family history
- Feeling fatigued, dizzy, or experiencing a racing heart are all possible symptoms
One of the best lifestyle habits you can adopt is to see your doctor regularly. Taking the time to do this, you’ll be able to catch any issues as soon as possible. Medications can be used to reduce your risk of heart disease due to certain risk factors, such as high blood pressure.
The following tips may also be given by your doctor:
- Having a smoke-free environment
- Hypertension control
- Regular exercise
- Keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level
- Overweight people losing weight.
- Having a healthy diet.
It may be impossible to make these changes all at once. Find out which lifestyle changes will have the greatest impact on you and your health. It won’t take much to stay your healthiest if you take even small steps towards these goals.
Hypertension and heart disease: what’s the connection?
Chronic high blood pressure causes hypertensive heart disease. The blood has to be circulated through your body more forcefully when you have hypertension. Several types of heart problems can be caused by an increase in pressure, such as enlarged, thickened heart muscles and narrowed arteries.
Having to pump your blood with more force makes your heart muscles stronger and thicker. Your heart’s pumping ability gets impacted by this. Hypertension reduces artery elasticity and makes them more rigid. You may not get the oxygen-rich blood your body needs if your blood circulation slows down.
With high blood pressure, hypertensive heart disease is the leading cause of death, so you should begin treating it right away. Complications can be prevented and further damage may be prevented if the treatment is administered timely.
There is no cure for heart disease, and it cannot be reversed. This disease must be treated and monitored for the rest of your life. There are medications, procedures, as well as lifestyle changes that can alleviate many symptoms of heart disease. In some cases, coronary bypass surgery or intervention may be required.
Make an appointment with your doctor to check if you have risk factors or are experiencing heart disease symptoms. Weighing your risks, doing a few screening tests, and making health-care plans together can keep you both in good health.
Before you can be diagnosed with something, you need to take charge of your health. Heart disease risks are higher if you have a family history of the disease or if you have conditions that increase your risk of developing heart disease. Your body and your heart will benefit for a long time if you take good care of them. We have only addressed a small part of a broad topic. Download the E Gurukul app to learn everything you need to know about heart disease.