Heart Disease – Risks, Types, Prevention & More

Heart Disease

With the increasing stress & tension in today’s life, heart diseases are becoming common globally, India carrying the highest burden. As per NCBI, the young and urban population is more prone to heart disease because of their unsystematic lifestyle, leading them towards hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. In the US also heart disease is the top cause of death, as per American Health Alliance.


What is heart disease?

Heart or cardiovascular disease does not include the entire circulatory system, but the problems affecting heart functioning, i.e., pumping oxygenated blood, hormones, etc. There are multiple types of heart diseases, both preventable and surgical.


Types of Heart Disease

1. Coronary Artery

Coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart to keep it pumping. Under coronary artery disease, cholesterol or plaque starts to form inside one of the four blood vessels due to obesity, diabetes, etc. The fat layer blocks the artery partially or wholly and disturbs the regular blood flow. 

2. Valvular heart disease

The heart has four valves, i.e., mitral, tricuspid, aortic, and pulmonary, that direct the blood flow in and out of the heart. Valvular heart disease occurs when one of the four valves does not open or close properly to pump enough blood for the body. It can result in heart failure or sudden cardiac arrest.

3. Cardiomyopathy

Under cardiomyopathy, muscles around the heart either start to harden or weaken, affecting heart functioning. Different types of cardiomyopathy, like dilated, hypertrophic, restrictive, etc., can be caused due to any other disease or passed on by a parent.

4. Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias are caused when the electrical impulses regulating your heartbeat do not work appropriately. And as a result, the heart does not beat regularly, i.e., it either beats faster (tachycardia) or slower (bradycardia). Sometimes the quivering heartbeat might not be harmful, but it can be severe.

5. Heart infection

Heart infections occur when harmful bacteria, viruses, or chemicals enter the heart or result from an autoimmune disease. It can damage the outer membrane (Pericarditis), valves or inner linings (Endocarditis), etc., and can also cause heart inflammation (Myocarditis). 

6. Congenital heart defects

Congenital heart problem is the most common type of defect that is by birth. The defect involves a problem in the child’s heart structure that affects valves, arteries, veins, and regular flow of blood. It ranges from mild to severe and sometimes doesn’t show any signs either.


What are the symptoms of heart disease?

Although there are different symptoms for every different type of heart disease, there are few general symptoms that can occur:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Chest in pain
  • Fatigue
  • Pain legs or abdomen
  • Irregular heartbeat, etc.

What are the causes of heart disease?

The cause of heart disease depends upon the specific type of problem you have. However, some general causes can affect your heart health. The causes are as follows:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure, cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol, caffeine, tea.
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical activity, etc.

The above factors are controllable, but some reasons are beyond our control. Those factors are:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Family history
  • Common in your nation

How are heart diseases treated?

Surgery

Depending upon the severity of the heart condition, the doctor might recommend surgery ranging from minimally invasive cardiac surgery to CABG to treat the heart or control the concerning signs.

If your artery is blocked partially or entirely, the doctor may suggest angioplasty or stenting regulating the blood flow. Coronary artery bypass graft surgery is required when several arteries or one of the large arteries in the heart is blocked.


Medications

Medicines are prescribed to you both to cure and prevent any complications from arising. However, since there are different types of heart problems, their treatment may also differ. Sometimes, you might need more than one medication to control the symptoms or manage a heart condition.

Some of the medicines that the doctors prescribe are ACB inhibitors, ARBs, Anticoagulants, etc. 


Lifestyle changes

Plaque or cholesterol formation is the main reason for increasing heart health. But with healthy lifestyle changes, you can improve the quality of heart & patient’s life after the surgery or treatment.

These lifestyle changes include:

  • Regular exercising
  • Nutritious diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce alcohol & caffeine consumption, etc.

What complications can arise?

  • Heart failure means when your heart doesn’t pump enough blood required to function correctly.

  • A heart attack occurs due to clotting in the blood vessels, which breaks the steady flow of blood.

  • A stroke is caused due to low supply of blood and nutrients to the brain, resulting in brain cells dying in minutes.

  • Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency under which there is a sudden loss of breathing due to arrhythmia.

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Founded by Varun Seth, Kunal Kapoor, and Zaheer Adenwala in 2012, Ketto is India’s top donation-based peer-to-peer crowdfunding platform, which helps to raise funds for a wide range of causes.


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