Many people are at risk for Cardiovascular Disease and infections without realizing that their gender, ethnicity, race or age can increase their risk of developing one type or another.
As the saying goes, “The more you know…”
The term Cardiovascular Disease, more commonly called Heart Disease, includes a variety of conditions that affect the heart and arteries.
The most basic job description of the wondrous muscle called the human heart is that it functions as a pump. It keeps us alive by sending oxygen-rich blood throughout the body and then receiving the depleted blood for recycling.
There are four valves in the human heart responsible for making sure the blood moves in the right direction.
Cardiovascular disease can affect the muscle itself, the arteries that connect to it, the valves, or the electrical signals that keep it beating.
- In medicine, both the location and the nature of the problem determine the specific heart conditions.
- Conditions affecting the heart are sometimes present at birth (“congenital”).
- Some develop as a result of lifestyle choices, like diet, smoking or drug abuse.
- Infections and parasites are responsible for others, as are high blood pressure (hypertension) or diabetes.
The term Arrhythmias describes abnormal heartbeats, whether too slow, too fast, or merely irregular.
- Arrhythmias can be congenital or caused by smoking, excessive caffeine intake, stress, drug or alcohol abuse or a valve defect.
Certain medications, both prescription and non-prescription, can trigger an arrhythmia, as can some natural or herbal supplements.
- Coronary Artery Disease is the most common form of cardiovascular disease. This term is generally used to describe damage to the heart or circulatory system caused by deposits of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis).
In Coronary Artery Disease. the artery walls thicken and become stiff, restricting the flow of blood to and from the rest of the body.
The problem is most often caused or made worse by smoking, a high-fat diet, excess weight, and a lack of exercise.
Cardiomyopathy is the enlargement or thickening of the heart muscle itself.
- The most common form of cardiomyopathy is Dilated Cardiomyopathy, which involves an enlarged left ventricle.
Endocarditis is an inflammation of the inner lining of your heart.
- The most common type is “bacterial endocarditis”, which happens when germs enter your heart through the bloodstream from another part of your body.
- Bacterial endocarditis can damage your heart valves and if untreated, can be life-threatening.
- The highest risks of Endocarditis stem from having an abnormal or damaged heart valve or certain types of heart defects.
Heart Infections are typically classified as bacterial, viral, or parasitic.
- Bacterial infections can be caused by poor dental health, eating contaminated food, or transmitted by ticks.
- Viral infections can develop from other conditions, such as measles, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), and certain strains of influenza.
- Parasitic infections can be transmitted by mosquitoes and other insects.
Valvular Heart Disease refers to conditions that affect the four valves in the heart.
- The condition may be congenital or the result of other diseases such as rheumatic fever or infections. It can also result from treatments such as radiation therapy.
Cardiovascular diseases and their complications are responsible for the greatest number of deaths among Americans, including both men and women and every racial and ethnic group in the country.
By increasing your knowledge and sharing it with others, you’ll contribute to making it possible to receive the correct treatment and prevent complications. Take the necessary steps to take care of yourself and protect the health of your heart.
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