As the number one killer for both men and women, it is important that we know the facts about heart disease. The American Heart Association’s website contains useful information about heart disease and the many problems related to atherosclerosis, which is the condition that develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. When this buildup narrows the arteries, it more difficult for blood to flow through and increases the chance of a blood clot forming, which can stop blood flow and cause a heart attack or stroke.
A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that goes into the heart becomes blocked by a blood clot. The treatment an individual receives depends on the severity of the heart attack, but for most, medications and lifestyle changes are prescribed.
The most common type of stroke is an ischemic stroke and happens when a blood vessel that feeds the brain is blocked (usually from a blood clot). Uncontrolled hypertension can result in what is known as a hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel in the brain burst.
The AHA states that heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, is one of the most common causes of hospitalization for adults 65 years and older. Heart failure occurs when the heart is not pumping blood as well as it should and the body’s blood and oxygen needs are not being met. Left untreated it can worsen, and individuals with the disease need to be diligent in following doctor’s orders. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, medications and surgery.
Other types of cardiovascular disease are arrhythmia and heart valve problems. Arrhythmia is the abnormal rhythm of the heart that causes the heart to beat too slowly, too fast or irregularly. Stenosis is when the heart valves do not open enough to allow blood to flow through, and regurgitation is what happens when the heart valves do not close properly and allow blood to leak through. Finally mitral valve prolapse is when the valve leaflets bulge or prolapse back into the upper chamber.
This post is for informational purposes and should not be used in place of the advice of your health care provider. For any health issues, please consult your doctor.
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