Cardiovascular disease

Other names: Heart disease

DEFINITION

Heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect your heart. Diseases under the Heart disease umbrella include blood vessel diseases, such as Coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and heart defects you're born with (congenital heart defects), among others. The term "Heart disease" is often used interchangeably with the term "cardiovascular disease." Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a Heart attack, Chest pain (Angina) or Stroke. Many forms of Heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of Heart disease depend on what type of Heart disease you have.

SYMPTOMS OF HEART DISEASE IN YOUR BLOOD VESSELS (ATHEROSCLEROTIC DISEASE)

HEART DISEASE SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY ABNORMAL HEARTBEATS (HEART ARRHYTHMIAS)

HEART DISEASE SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY HEART DEFECTS

Serious congenital heart defects usually become evident soon after birth. Symptoms could include pale gray or blue skin color, swelling in certain areas, and shortness of breath during feedings. Less serious congenital heart defects may present with easily getting short of breath during exercise, swelling in hands/feet, and tiring easily during activity.

HEART DISEASE SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY WEAK HEART MUSCLE (DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY)

Symptoms may include breathlessness with exertion or at rest, swelling of the legs/feet, fatigue, irregular heartbeats, dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.

CAUSES

The causes of Heart disease vary depending on the type. Causes can range from atherosclerosis for cardiovascular disease to genetic factors for some congenital heart defects. Lifestyle factors such as smoking and poor diet can also contribute to the development of Heart disease.

RISK FACTORS

Risk factors for developing Heart disease include age, sex, family history, smoking, poor diet, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, stress, and poor hygiene.

COMPLICATIONS

Complications of Heart disease include heart failure, heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, peripheral artery disease and sudden cardiac arrest.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

If you suspect you have Heart disease or are concerned about your risk factors due to family history or symptoms you're experiencing, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Prepare for your appointment by noting down symptoms, personal information like family history and medications you're taking. Be ready to discuss your diet and lifestyle habits.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Tests for diagnosing Heart disease may include electrocardiogram (ECG), Holter monitoring, echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization, cardiac CT scan and cardiac MRI.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment for Heart disease varies by condition but may involve lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise modifications; medications to control symptoms; and medical procedures/surgery if necessary.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

Preventative measures for Heart disease include quitting smoking, controlling health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes; regular exercise; a low-salt and low-fat diet; maintaining a healthy weight; stress management; good hygiene practices.

COPING AND SUPPORT

Coping strategies for dealing with Heart disease include participation in cardiac rehabilitation programs if needed; seeking support from friends/family or joining support groups; and ensuring regular medical checkups for ongoing management.


QUESTIONS

  1. What are the main symptoms of cardiovascular diseases?

Symptoms can vary but may include chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, pain/weakness in limbs due to narrowed blood vessels.

  1. What are the risk factors for developing heart disease?

Age, sex, family history, smoking, poor diet high in fat/salt/sugar/cholesterol; high blood pressure & cholesterol levels; diabetes; obesity; physical inactivity; stress.

  1. How is cardiovascular disease diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves physical exams along with tests like ECGs/Echocardiograms/Cardiac catheterization/Cardiac CT scans/Chest X-rays.

  1. What lifestyle changes can help prevent heart disease?

Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking; controlling health conditions like high blood pressure & diabetes; regular exercise; low-salt & low-fat diet; maintaining a healthy weight.

  1. What are the complications of heart disease?

Complications may include heart failure, heart attack/stroke/aneurysm/peripheral artery disease/sudden cardiac arrest.

  1. Can congenital heart defects develop in adults?

Yes. As individuals age their heart's structure can change leading to the development of new congenital heart defects.

  1. What are some common causes of abnormal heart rhythms?

Causes may include coronary artery disease/high blood pressure/diabetes/smoking/alcohol/drug abuse/stress/valvular heart diseases.

  1. How does age affect the risk of developing heart diseases?

Aging increases the risk due to damaged/narrowed arteries & weakened/thickened heart muscle.

  1. What role does genetics play in cardiovascular diseases?

Family history plays a significant role especially if parents had early onset coronary artery diseases.

  1. Why is seeking early medical care important for heart diseases?

Early detection allows for better treatment outcomes as many forms of heart diseases can be managed/prevented with timely interventions.

This comprehensive guide provides insights into understanding cardiovascular diseases – from symptoms to treatments – empowering individuals to take proactive steps towards better heart health. Remember that prevention through healthy lifestyle choices remains key in combating these conditions effectively.