Heart Disease: Factors And Treatments
Heart disease encapsulates a myriad of cardiovascular problems that are related to a process called atherosclerosis. This is a condition that allows plaque to build up on on the walls of the arteries, narrowing the pathways and making it more difficult for the heart to work efficiently. The buildup of this plaque can also potentially trigger clot formations, lending for a heart attack or a stroke. To understand heart disease and the relationship it has with a heart attack and stroke, it is important that the two are differentiated.
A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to the heart is blocked by a blood clot, completely halting the transfer of oxygen-rich blood to the body. The heart muscle that supplies the blood flow will begin to die. In most situations, most people survive their first heart attack, with doctors prescribing lifestyle changes and medication to circumvent the occurrence of any future heart attacks.
A stroke happens when the blood vessels that feeds to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. When this happens, the cells in the brain begin to die. Depending on the severity of the stroke, many people will suffer from cognitive deterioration, with some sufferers having difficulty walking or talking. Some of these effects are permanent due to the lack of blood during a stroke. Some cells can repair themselves, while others cannot be replaced. With rehabilitation, stroke survivors can learn how to walk or talk with the proper therapy.
Even though heart attacks and strokes tend to be the more infamous ailments that stem from heart disease, there are other types of cardiovascular diseases you need to be cognizant about. Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, means that the blood has failed to pump blood as efficiently as it should. The heart still beats, but not at the ferocity of a normal, healthy heart. Heart failure tends to be progressive, needing immediate treatment before it gets worse. Arrhythmia is another type of heart disease. People with arrhythmia can experience a heartbeat that beats too fast, too slow, or irregularly. These can affect how well the heart works. There are also many chambers or valves that make up the heart — some of these heart valves may fail to allow adequate blood flow. When these heart valves don’t work properly, blood tends to leak through, preventing it from closing or opening properly.
Here Are The Facts
Unfortunately, heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and women, with more than half of the deaths due to heart disease coming from men in 2009.
High blood pressure, high levels of unhealthy cholesterol, smoking, and obesity have a contributing factor to the formation of heart disease. About 49 percent of Americans have at least one type of risk factor that improve their risk of heart disease.
Some of the more common ailments that are associated with the proliferation of heart disease are diabetes, a poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol consumption.
Heart disease claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined.
Main Cause of Heart Disease
Risk factors are conditions and habits that increase your chances of experiencing heart disease sometime in your life. There are certain risk factors that cannot be altered. Some of these inherent factors include family history and age. Age increases your risk of damaged arteries that can weaken or thicken the muscles and valves of your heart, with your family history of heart disease increasing your risk for coronary artery disease, especially if one of your parents developed heart disease before the age of 55. Also, men are generally at a greater risk of heart disease, with woman risk increasing after menopause.
However, there are other factors that you can control to help circumvent the ramifications of heart disease. Smoking is one of the biggest contributing factors for heart disease, as nicotine actively constricts your blood vessels and pollute blood cells with poisons. Carbon monoxide from smoke can also damage the inner lining of the blood vessels, increasing the chances of atherosclerosis of taking hold. One of the best things that you can do is eliminate the habit of smoking. High blood pressure can result in the hardening of the arteries, also narrowing them. You can reduce high blood pressure by losing weight, eating a nutrient dense diet, reducing sodium intake, as well as limit the amount of consumed alcohol.
It’s important to note that many of the risk factors for heart disease tend to be reduced by three main variables — lifestyle changes like exercise, eating healthy, and reducing exposure to toxins like nicotine. Contributing factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity, and diabetes can all be reduced by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and overall taking better care of your health.
Breakthrough Treatments For Heart Disease
Depending on the type of heart disease and the involved circumstances, they are different types of treatments to help rehabilitate sufferers. In the case of a narrowed or blocked artery, percutaneous coronary intervention may be needed. During this treatment, a flexible tube with a small balloon is threaded through a blood vessel to clear the pathway. The balloon will inflate, restoring normal blood flow to the artery. It can help improve blood flow as well as relieve chest pain. During a coronary artery bypass grafting treatment, the surgeon removes a small section of the affected artery or vein and connect it to another area of the body to bypass the blocked arteries. It is noted that this treatment can help prevent future heart attacks. There are also a number of breakthrough treatments that have been showcasing promising results.
There are new drugs to help avoid the effects of congestive heart failure. Paradigm-HF has been noted to reduce the death associated with congestive heart failure by 20 percent, as well as reduce the occurrence of readmissions. Not only does this help sufferers to restore their life, but it can also help reduce the strain on the healthcare system. About 20 percent of heart failure sufferers are readmitted within 30 days. The reduction of readmission is showing to be a promising option for Americans and the strained healthcare system.
A new class of drugs has also been known to help reduce levels of bad cholesterol, also called LDL-C. New inhibitors have been shown to reduce bad cholesterol levels by as much as 50 percent to 70 percent with hardly any adverse effects. Biweekly injections are administered via small needles that also produce very little pain.