Cardiovascular disease or CVD is a term used for all the conditions that affect the blood vessels or heart. It is the leading cause of death every year globally. Heart diseases are preventable in most cases, if a person opts for a healthy lifestyle.
What are the types of heart diseases?
Cardiovascular or heart diseases are categorised into four main types which are outlined below:
Coronary heart disease: Coronary heart disease takes place when the flow of blood to the heart gets reduced or blocked. It is mainly the result of plaque build-up in the arteries which puts strain on the heart and can result in angina, heart attack or heart failure. Coronary heart disease is also called ischaemic heart disease.
Peripheral arterial disease: Peripheral arterial diseases occur when there is a blockage in the blood flow to the limbs. They can cause leg pain, numbness in the legs, hair loss on the feet and legs and open sores on legs and feet.
Aortic disease: Aorta is the largest blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to other parts of the body. Aortic diseases are conditions that affect the aorta. These diseases are not usually symptomatic, but there is a chance that they can cause aorta to burst which can lead to life threatening bleeding.
TIAs or Strokes: Transient ischaemic attack or TIA happens when the blood flow to the brain is disrupted temporarily. A stroke is when blood supply to a specific part of the brain is cut off which can lead to brain damage and death.
Symptoms of Cardiovascular disease:
Some common symptoms of heart diseases are:
- back pain
- cold sweats
- neck pain
- shortness of breath
If you yourself or someone you know is symptomatic of cardiovascular diseases then they should definitely get in touch with Dr. Amanullah or any other cardiologist nearby.
Causes of Cardiovascular diseases:
The causes of cardiovascular diseases are not clear but there are certain factors that expose you to the risk of getting cardiovascular disease. These factors are:
high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, unhealthy diet, inactivity.
Some risk factors of cardiovascular disease that you don’t have any control over are:
Genetic history of cardiovascular disease:
You are at a higher risk of getting cardiovascular disease if a family member of yours also had it at some point in their life.
Gender matters, you are at a risk to get a cardiovascular disease early if you are a man.
Your tendency to get a cardiovascular disease increases with age. Men aged 45 and above, and women aged 55 and above are at a greater risk to get a cardiovascular disease
African Americans are more at risk to get a cardiovascular disease than whites. Similarly South Asians have a higher tendency than the East Asians to get a cardiovascular disease.
Prevention of Cardiovascular diseases:
Cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by following these tips:
Quit smoking: Smoking cigarettes can cause permanent damage to your heart and blood vessels. It also tightens some major arteries and causes irregular heart rhythm so by quitting smoking you will be doing a great favour to your heart.
Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, whereas high cholesterol levels can create plaque that can clog your arteries. Both of these levels can be kept under control with the help of lifestyle changes and medications.
Exercise: An average adult is advised to exercise for at least 150 minutes in a week. Exercising strengthens your heart and improves blood circulation in your body. It also helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. So by exercising you will be lowering your risk of getting a cardiovascular disease.
Eat well: : A balanced and healthy diet is recommended to maintain a healthy heart. A healthy diet means low levels of sugar, salt and saturated fat and plenty of fibre, fruits and veggies. You can also visit a dietitian like Ms. Ayesha Nasir to take help regarding eating well to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Sleep well: If you’re not getting enough sleep, then you are raising your risk of getting high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. These three things are directly linked to cardiovascular diseases, so make sure that you catch 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. And if you suffer from sleep problems get in touch with your doctor and resolve them.
Control stress: High stress levels mean high blood pressure levels. And extreme stress can trigger a heart attack, so manage stress by exercising or doing something that you love.
Manage diabetes: If you’re a diabetic then you are at a double risk of getting a cardiovascular disease. So, you should keep your blood sugar levels under control with the help of medications.
Take medication: If you fulfil all the risk factors of cardiovascular disease then your doctor will prescribe you with a preventative medication. So, make sure that you take that medicine on a regular basis.