Cardiovascular disease, also known as CVD, is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is a condition that affects the structures or functions of the heart. People who have been diagnosed as having a cardiovascular disease can still live a healthy and active life by taking better care of themselves and learning about their disease.
Since each type of heart condition can have various causes and treatments, knowing their differences is important to managing the disease.
4 Common Types of Cardiovascular Diseases
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart arrhythmia
- Heart valve disease
- Heart failure disease
Coronary heart disease
The coronary arteries supply blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart. When plaque (deposits) builds up and hardens, narrowing the arteries, it decreases the blood flow and can develop coronary artery disease, also called CAD.
Over time, restricted blood supply to the heart can cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or a heart attack. If diagnosed with CHD, treatment usually involves lifestyle changes and, if necessary, drugs and certain medical procedures.
Heart arrhythmia, also called dysrhythmia, is an irregular heartbeat that occurs when electrical impulses in the heart change and do not work properly. Arrhythmia can be caused by high blood pressure, valve disorders, injury of a heart attack, or cardiomyopathy, to name a few.
People who develop heart arrhythmia are treated by the type and severity, which can include anti-arrhythmic medication, invasive therapy, electrical devices, and surgery.
Heart valve disease
Heart valve disease is when the valve is damaged, and blood flow through the heart is interrupted. There are various causes of heart valve disease, such as degenerative changes, cardiomyopathy, and a leaky or infected valve. Treatment depends on which valve is affected and its seriousness, which will require medication or surgery.
Congestive heart failure, also known as CHF, is the main reason people older than 65 go into the hospital. CHF develops when someone does not get enough blood flow or if fluid backs up into the lungs and the rest of the body.
This can gradually leave the heart muscle walls too weak, causing the heart to pump less efficiently to meet the body’s needs. CHF is caused by various medical conditions such as CAD, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, or a heart attack which all can damage the heart.
Treating it depends on the type of heart failure a person has and what caused it. Medications and lifestyle changes are part of every heart failure treatment plan, regardless of gender.
Cardiovascular disease affects almost half of the adults in the United States and does not discriminate. It attacks people of all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic levels. But CVD can easily be managed by making certain lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet, exercising, and not smoking, to name a few. The sooner you detect a cardiovascular disease, the easier a cardiologist specialist will be able to treat the disease.
Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors
- Family history
- Tobacco use
- High blood pressure or cholesterol
- Obesity or sedentary lifestyle
- Poor diet
- Chronic kidney disease
- Autoimmune conditions
Cardiovascular disease symptoms can vary depending on the cause of the disease. But most symptoms include chest pains, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and exhaustion. To help diagnose heart disease, your healthcare provider will ask questions, perform a physical, and can order tests such as blood work, EKG, CT, or a stress test.
Don’t be shy about discussing your heart health, appropriate testing, and treatment options with a cardiologist specialist. Many people can enjoy a high quality of life by managing their cardiovascular disease with the help of their healthcare team.
Ways to Prevent and Manage Heart Diseases
Quit tobacco use
People who smoke and use tobacco products are more than twice as likely to develop a heart attack.
Eat a heart-healthy diet
Eating foods that are low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber will help keep your heart healthier. It is also important to eat lean meats and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, limit salt and sugar intake, and practice portion control.
Read also: Heart Healthy Lifestyle & Diet
Staying active can help decrease the risk of developing heart diseases, whereas people who are sedentary are at a higher risk.
Manage blood pressure
This is the most common heart disease risk factor that people experience and may end up needing to take medication to control.
Everyone has stress but keeping it under control helps maintain your blood pressure.
Read also: Can Stress Contribute to Heart Disease?
When dealing with a cardiovascular disease, it is better to be overly cautious because even a heart attack can often strike with little warning. If you think you recognize the signs of heart disease, do not be afraid to seek medical attention immediately from a cardiologist specialist at CT Cardio.
Dr. Corwin A. Thomas is a renowned cardiologist in Lafayette, LA, who has served patients in the Acadiana area for over fifteen years. His knowledge, compassion, and understanding of CVD have helped many patients learn to deal with and manage their heart condition.
Preventing heart disease before it occurs or leads to a heart attack is the only solution for CT Cardio!