Cardiovascular disease can refer to several heart ailments like atherosclerosis – a condition where plaque builds up in the arterial walls, thereby restricting smooth blood flow to the heart. Plaque formation and hardening of the arteries could in time lead to strokes, and heart attack. Blood clots in arteries lead to heart muscle degeneration and death which result in mild to severe attacks. Narrowing of the arteries is called coronary artery disease.
Types Of Cardiovascular Diseases
The heart pumps blood poorly in congestive heart failure. When left untreated, heart failure can result in serious health problems. A medical condition, arrhythmia, is the inability of your heart to pump enough blood to keep up with your body’s needs when it beats too fast or too slowly.
Furthermore, congenital heart defects, deep vein thrombosis, and heart valve malfunctions, among others, might constitute common cardiovascular diseases.
Risks of Cardiovascular Diseases
Let us take a closer look at the risk factors:
- Hypertension or High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is often a result of prolonged stress, obesity, smoking, and high blood cholesterol levels. If the blood pressure readings are way beyond the normal 120/80, one should be alerted to make immediate lifestyle changes.
- High Blood Cholesterol – Cholesterol is used by the body to make membranes and hormones. The liver produces the desired amount, while some are found in food items like animal meat and dairy products. Trans fats and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad cholesterol” are dietary factors that contribute to plaque buildup in arterial walls (atherosclerosis), thereby making heart attacks more likely.
- Diabetes – Non-insulin-dependent or type 2 diabetic patients have higher chances of developing coronary heart diseases. This is because uncontrolled glucose levels in the blood could block arterial walls supplying blood to the heart, resulting in clots, strokes, and attacks. If one suspects that he is diabetic for valid reasons and apparent symptoms, he should waste no time taking advice from a good healthcare provider. Diabetes, if left untreated for long, could have major implications on heart health.
- Obesity – It is logical to conclude how excess body weight could impede the healthy functioning of the heart. People with a body mass index over 30 are said to be clinically obese. Heart attacks are fairly common in obese patients.
- Smoking – Increases heart rate, tightens major arteries, blocks them with nicotine compounds and carbon monoxide, raises blood pressure, and creates irregularities in heartbeats – all of which could prevent the heart from functioning optimally, resulting in fatal attacks.
- Sedentary Lifestyle – Regular exercise routine has many benefits. An active life means better control over blood sugar and cholesterol levels, lowered blood pressure, strengthened heart muscles, flexible arteries, and more calorie burning.
- Gender-Heredity-Age – Normally speaking, men are more prone to cardiovascular diseases than women. However, the difference in statistics narrows down after a woman reaches menopause. Heart attacks in women after their menopause could be more severe with little chances of survival.
Other Contributing Risk Factors Are
- Prolonged stress – Stress affects behavior patterns, making us overeat, high-tension due to anxiety, and addicted to cigarettes and alcohol.
- Use of birth control pills – Some contraceptives have very high levels of estrogens and progestin. There could be increased incidents of heart attacks if they are taken in combination with nicotine or alcohol, also if the woman is hypertensive or diabetic.
- Alcohol consumption – Drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol could lead to arrhythmia, high blood pressure, and strokes.
- Sex hormones – Menopausal women with reduced sex hormones are more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases.
In a bid to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases one should make the following a part of his daily regime:
- Keep your blood pressure under check, and follow up with the treating doctor periodically.
- Make healthy lifestyle changes, be more active and shun inactivity.
- Take corrective steps to control high blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in the blood – all of which clog the arteries. Regular medication and positive lifestyle changes will ensure that.
- Maintain a healthy weight to reduce the load on the heart.
- Eat a healthy diet that is high in fiber, essential nutrients, HDL or good cholesterol, and protein. Limit sugar and sodium intake along with saturated fats.
- Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
- Manage stress with meditative exercises, fun hobbies, therapy, music, etc.
The incidence of cardiovascular diseases is significantly higher in people who have a family history. Several studies have shown that some racial and ethnic groups, including Afro-Americans, have a greater risk of heart disease. The arteries harden and stiffen as we age, preventing healthy blood flow to the heart. As a result, cardiovascular failures are increased in number greatly. Simple steps can, however, help prevent the condition by sleeping and resting enough. When we over-exert ourselves, we become exhausted and burnt out. As a result, the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and sleep disorders like apnea will be higher; all would raise the likelihood of cardiovascular diseases. Let’s start making small changes today for a better tomorrow.