Heart disease (also known as cardiovascular disease) is a wide-reaching term that refers to a variety of heart problems. When plaque accumulates in artery walls, the arteries can become constricted, which affects blood flow. This process is called artherosclerosis and can pose a serious threat to overall heath. In fact, artherosclerosis can lead to dangerous blood clots that can trigger a stroke or heart attack. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) artherosclerosis is the culprit behind many cases of heart disease.
Types of heart disease
The AHA reports that the following conditions are also considered forms of heart disease:
- Heart attack – this happens when a blood clot cuts off blood flow to the heart. This results in damaged heart tissue. According to the AHA, taking medications and making lifestyle changes (like quitting smoking, exercising and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure) can help patients return to an otherwise healthy life following a heart attack.
- Stroke – when the supply of blood to the brain becomes blocked, an ischemic stroke can occur. This can result in impaired speech and motor skills following the event. According to the AHA, a hemorrhagic stroke is different and is usually caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure. When this happens, a blood vessel in the brain actually bursts.
- Heart failure – this is when the heart is doing an inadequate job of pumping blood, which can lead to an insufficient amount of blood and oxygen being circulated in the body.
- Arrhythmia – when heart rhythm becomes irregular, it is called an arrhythmia. A variety of arrhythmia conditions exist. Atrial fibrillation, or a-fib, is one of the most common heart arrhythmia conditions in the United States.
- Heart valve issues – whenever the valves of the heart aren’t working properly, it can lead to all sorts of cardiovascular issues. It’s dangerous because these types of problems negatively affect blood flow.Source: The American Heart Association
Reasons for getting a heart disease
Poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise and being overweight all greatly increase the chances of developing some form of heart disease. In fact, there is a large body of research that suggests that red meat contributes to the disease. Another recent study out of Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute found that emotional stressors may be linked to artery dysfunction in some women, contributing to heart attacks and other cardiac issues.
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