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Cardiovascular diseases include a wide range of heart abnormalities, as well as diseases of other parts of the circulatory system, such as the coronary arteries, ther cerebrovascular system, the aorta and pulmonary vessels, and the peripheral arteries and veins. Abnormalities of these structures may be either congenital or acquired over time.
It has been said that cardiovascular disease kills about 954,000 people annually, including more than 156,000 people under the age of sixty-five years. "Between 1980 and 1993 the death rate for cardiovascular disease declined steadily because of improved medical treatments and healthier lifestyles." (1999 Multimedia Encyclopedia). Unfortunately, cardiovascular disease remains a increase, gbut this increase is mainly related to death from congestive heart failure and may reflect the aging of the American population. It also may reflect the fact that modern medicine allows some patients to survive otherwise fatal cardiovascular diseases only to die later of other related problems.
There is one form of cardiovascular diseases, coronary heart disease, this form of CVD, is also known as coronary artery disease. This results from a buildup of cholesterol and other substances within the arteries that supply the blood to the heart. This buildup is known as plaque, or atheroclerotic material. So in time the arteries become narrowed until blood can no longer flwo normally. The decrease in flow is known as ischemia, and it causes angina pectoris, or chest pain. If the blood flow becomes totally blocked due to a blood clot, the affected portion of the heart muscle will die. This is called a heart attack, or myocardial infarction. The symptom is a severe, crushing chest pain that may radiate to the arms, neck, or jaw. A mild attack the symptoms may resembel indigestion or heartburn.
Both coronary artery disease and cardiovascular disorders can lead to congestive heart failure. This is where the heart is unable to pump all of the blood and the blood backs up and collects in various tissues, including the lungs. Even though the heart continues to work, it is severely impaired. This condition can usually be treated with drugs or surgery. If this treatment fails a heart transplant is sometimes an option.
There are many ways to prevent cardiovascular disease, researchers say a number of risk factors that contribute to the disease. These include increasing age, male gender, a family history, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol levels. Changes one can make in the lifestyle they lead is diet, cigarette smoking, and lack of exercise. Some other factors include diabetes, obesity, and stress. Thers factors can be altered by behavioral changes. Cigarette smoking contributes to twenty percent of cardiovascular deaths, stopping smoking is extremely important in preventing the disease. Also regualr physical activity and a low-fat diet can reduce the risk.
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