What Are Cardiovascular Diseases & How You Can Prevent Them?
Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are a group of illnesses or disorders that involves heart and blood vessels (veins, arteries and capillaries) or the diseases that affect the cardiovascular system or circulatory system. The cardiovascular system is responsible for the movement of blood throughout the body. The system is composed of heart and blood vessels, which have three types: arteries, veins and capillaries. Arteries transport oxygenated blood from heart and lungs to the whole body and veins carry deoxygenated blood from the body back to the heart. Capillaries located within the tissues of the body and they transport oxygenated blood from arteries to tissues of the body and feed deoxygenated blood from tissues to the veins.
In today’s article, we cover types of cardiovascular diseases, their causes, risk factors and ways of prevention.
What are the types of cardiovascular diseases? What are their causes and risk factors?
The actual cause of CVDs is still not known, but there are many factors that increase the risk of developing CVD, called as risk factors. Here are some main types of cardiovascular diseases and their risk factors:
Stroke occurs when there is disruption of blood supply to the brain due to the blockage of blood vessel or rupture of blood vessel.
Risk factors include: Atrial fibrillation (it is heart rhythm disorder), high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, diabetes, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, use of tobacco (i.e. smoking) and advancing age.
Coronary Heart Disease:
It is the disease of the blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the muscles of the heart and it occurs when this flow of blood is blocked or reduced. This puts increased pressure on the heart and leads to various heart diseases such as angina, heart attack and heart failure.
Risk factors include: High cholesterol level, high blood pressure, diabetes, unhealthy diet, no physical activity, use of tobacco, advancing age and genetic disposition. Some other risk factors are poor mental health (i.e. depression), inflammation or blood clotting disorders, poverty and low educational status.
Rheumatic Heart Disease:
It is the condition in which muscles and valves of the heart damage due to rheumatic fever, which is caused by streptococcal bacteria.
Aortic Aneurysm and Dissection:
Aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body that carries blood from the heart to rest of body. The most common aortic disease is aortic aneurysm and dissection, in which the aorta becomes weak and bulges outwards or dilates. Although this causes no symptoms, there is high risk that dilated aorta can rupture and cause life-threatening bleeding.
Risk factors include: Aging, high blood pressure for long time period, congenital heart disorders, Marfan syndrome (a genetic disorder affecting body’s connective tissues), syphilis (sexually transmitted disease) and other infectious and various inflammatory disorders.
Peripheral Arterial Disease:
It is the disease which occurs when there is blockage in the arteries supplying blood to the legs. It causes cramping, pain in legs, hair loss on legs and feet, weakness or numbness in legs and persistent ulcers or sores on legs and feet.
Risk factors are same as for coronary heart disease.
Congenital Heart Disease:
Congenital heart disease is the term that is used for a range of birth defects that affects the normal functioning of the heart. Congenital means conditions present at birth. Common congenital heart defects are holes in the heart, abnormal heart chambers and abnormal heart valves.
Risk factors include: Taking alcohol and certain medications (e.g. thalidomide, warfarin) during pregnancy, viral infection such as rubella in first trimester of pregnancy, poor nutrition of expecting mother and close blood relation between parents.
Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE):
Pulmonary embolism occurs when blood clot, called as deep venous thrombosis, often exists in the leg and it can travel to the lungs and blocks a blood vessel. This can result in less oxygen level in the blood and cause damage to the lungs while may also lead to heart failure, too.
Risk factors include: Diagnosed with DVT, cancer, surgery, obesity, long periods of inactivity or immobility such as travelling, recent childbirth, use of oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy.
Some other types of CVDs include:
- Tumors of heart
- Vascular tumors of brain
- Heart valve diseases
- Disorders of heart muscles
- Disorders of inside lining of the heart
Some other risk factors that can damage the circulatory system:
- High blood pressure
- Unhealthy diet
- Toxins, drugs and alcohol
How to prevent cardiovascular disease?
Most important way to prevent CVD is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. If you already have CVD then adopting healthy lifestyle reduces the risk of getting the disease worse. Some of the important preventive measures for CVD are as follows:
Have a balanced diet:
A balanced and healthy diet can make your heart healthy. Balanced diet may include: have low-levels of saturated fat which is found in meat, lard, cakes, creams and biscuits and include healthy sources of fat such as oily fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Limit the use of salt and sugar in your diet. Eat plenty of fiber and whole grain foods, fresh fruits and vegetables. You can visit a nutritionist for a healthy and balanced diet plan.
It has been advised that adults should do moderate aerobic activity, such as cycling or brisk walking, at least for 150 minutes in one week. But if you find this difficult or if you start exercise for the first time then take a start with 15 minutes walk or exercise or any other physical activity, in which you feel comfortable and then gradually increase the duration and intensity. You can visit doctor or fitness expert if you have not exercise before.
Maintaining healthy weight:
If you are obese or overweight then you can lose weight through a regular exercise regime and a balanced, healthy diet plan. If you want to lose weight then you can take professional medical advice from the doctor who not only helps you in losing weight but also helps you for weight management.
If you smoke then quit it as soon as possible. You can consult the doctor, who supports you to stop smoking through smoking cessation program, prescribe medications and give suggestions, tips and advices that help you to quit.
Limit the use of alcohol:
If you drink alcohol then make sure not to exceed the recommended limit of 14 alcohol units per week for both men and women. If you find any difficulty in limiting the use of alcohol then the doctor can give you help and advice in this regard.
If you have specifically high risk of developing CVD then the doctor can give you medications to reduce this risk. These medications include Statins that lower blood cholesterol level, low-dose Aspirin that prevents blood clotting and tablets to reduce high blood pressure.
For consultation on cardiovascular disease management and prevention, contact physicians at Island Medical Consultants in NYC:
If you are at high risk of developing CVD or if you have diagnosed with CVD then you can consult board certified physicians at Island Medical Consultants, who help you in early detection of CVD through advanced screening tests. They also give you guidance and advice to manage your lifestyle and health while living with CVD. The highly committed physicians also support you through complete guidance and awareness of preventive measures. For more information, visit our website or call us for a quick response or any immediate help.