Heart disease is a term that covers several different conditions. All of these ailments have the potential to be deadly, though they are all treatable or at least preventable.
Who is at Risk for Heart Disease?
How the Cardiovascular System (or Heart)Works
What are the different Forms of Heart Disease?
Who is at Risk for Heart Disease?
Heart disease happens to kill more people in the United States than any any other cause. Coronary Artery Disease (also called CAD or known as coronary heart disease) is the most common of the heart disease causes. There are approximately seven million Americans that suffer from this condition and every year about half a million people will die from causes related to CAD. Some of the other forms of heart disease include arrhythmias, stroke and cardiomyopathy. If you are interested in learning more about heart disease cause and effects as well as the risks for this condition is should read below.
How the Cardiovascular System (or Heart) Works
The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart and the blood vessels that transport the blood throughout the body. The blood is essential for carrying oxygen, hormones and nutrients while carrying away waste and carbon dioxide. This system of the body is necessary to keep the other systems functioning properly.
Veins carry the blood that is low in oxygen back to the heart, entering on the right side. The right valve then sends the blood to the lungs where it is oxygenated and gets rid of the carbon dioxide. Once the blood gets to the left side it is ready to be pumped to the aorta, the largest artery, where it will be sent throughout the body as needed. The aorta stems into smaller arteries through the body.
Like every part of the body, the muscles of the heart need oxygen and nutrients in order to function optimally, though it does not take from the blood as it pumps. Just like every other part of the body, it receives the blood it needs through the coronary arteries.
What are the Different Forms of heart Disease?
As stated earlier, heart disease is a general term that encompasses a variety of different conditions pertaining to the heart.
The way coronary heart disease works is by clogging the arteries causing them to narrow. This restricts the amount of oxygen and nutrients to the body. This can lead to chest pain which is also called angina, a heart attack (myocardial infarction) and even sudden cardiac death which comes from the heart beating in such an abnormal manner that it is ineffective.
The way a stroke works is by the arteries to the brain becoming clogged. When this condition occurs in the legs it is called peripheral vascular disease. These heart disease symptoms that can lead to CAD can also lead to these conditions as well.
Congestive heart failure is a condition caused by a muscle of the heart becoming weakened to the point that it can no longer pump blood effectively. Some of the symptoms of this condition include shortness of breath, an inability to exercise and swelling of the legs. It can also stem from a heart attack or cardiomyopathy.
Cardiac arrhythmias are basically abnormal beats of the heart and can be long lasting and harmless. However, they can also be more serious as they can keep the heart from functioning as it should. In these cases it can actually cause congestive heart failure or even sudden cardiac death.
Cardiomyopathy happens when the heart can no longer pump blood, which can cause the rhythm of the heart to be disrupted, thereby causing arrhythmias. It can also be a side effect of coronary atherosclerosis even though they are not related. Many times the cause of the condition is not known. While this condition is not common, only occurring in fifty thousand Americans, it is primarily found in young people. It is a progressive condition that can become worse quickly, which then requires a heart transplant. It is actually the leading cause for people needing a heart transplant.
Another heart disease fact you may not know is there are other less prevalent diseases in this category including valvular disease and aneurysm.