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Know more about your heart

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The cardiovascular or circulatory system consists of the heart, veins, arteries and capillaries. These are all responsible for the supply of blood to the body. 

Generally, cardiovascular disease (CVD), heart disease and coronary disease, sound similar hence people use them interchangeably. Cardiovascular diseases include all diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels along.   

In the current scenario, cardiovascular diseases are now the most common cause of death worldwide. One in every five deaths is due to heart disease, which accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths.   

Common cardiovascular disorders

  • Myocardial infarction (Heart Attack )
  • Stroke 
  • Heart Failure 
  • Arrhythmia 
  • Heart Valve Complications 

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease? 

There are several risk factors that contribute to Cardiovascular diseases, out of which major ones are listed below: 

  1. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) –

High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder and pump blood to the rest of the body parts which in turn damages arteries and can lead to complications like heart attack, heart disease and heart stroke. 

2. High Blood Cholesterol

Mainly caused by eating unhealthy fatty food, smoking and drinking, being overweight with no exercise. With high cholesterol, there is a chance to develop fatty deposits in blood vessels. Eventually, these fatty deposits grow and create difficulties for enough blood supply to flow through arteries. Sometimes, those fatty deposits break suddenly and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke. One of the major risk factors for heart disease is high blood cholesterol.

3. Obesity and Overweight

It contributes to develop other risk factors like type 2 diabetes, dyslipidaemia, hypertension and sleep disorders, resulting in an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease like heart failure and coronary heart diseases.

4. Smoking & Alcohol- 

One of the major causes for cardiovascular disease having one of every four deaths across the globe. The chemicals inhaled while smoking or drink alcohol can permanently damage blood vessels and heart.

5. Physical Inactivity- 

Sedentary lifestyle can be fatal and causing many health diseases like obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety. Being inactive can accumulate fatty material in blood vessels (which carries blood to organs) and make it damaged and clogged, it can lead to heart attack.

6. Diabetes-

People with diabetes having high chances of heart disease. Diabetes or high blood sugar damages blood vessels and nerves that control the heart.

7. Heredity- 

Heart failure can run in families indicating a strong inherited genetic risk, as cardiac disorders can be passed from generation to generation, when a family member is diagnosed with heart disease, rest family members are advised to undergo screening for possible cardiac risks

8. Gender-

There is a misperception that women are protected against cardiovascular diseases, in contrast women are having the high risk of stroke. Generally, Men have higher propensity of developing coronary heart disease than women. 

Can cardiovascular disease be treated? 

An effective change in lifestyle, food habits, medicine and in some case, surgery can be beneficial in coronary heart disease (CHD) treatment.  

What are the first signs of a weak heart? 

Weak heart can be identified with the following symptoms –   

  • Experiencing shortness of breath  
  • Unexplained weakness and fatigue  
  • Persistent swelling in abdomen, legs, feet and ankles 
  •  Irregular and rapid heartbeat
  • Notifying white or pink blood-tinged mucus with persistent cough or wheezing.  

How is cardiovascular disease prevented?

To advocate, precaution is better than cure, few tips of lifestyle change can help, treat and prevent heart disorders- 

  • Eating a healthy diet is choosing healthy habits to build and maintain heart health.
    • Leafy, green vegetables and whole grains are nutrient-rich which helps protect arteries and improves the function of blood vessels.
    • Add berries, avocados, fatty fish, fish oil, walnuts, beans, seeds, garlic, olive oil and green tea to the diet. 
  • Keep your body active with exercise regularly, maintain health and keep weight controlled.
  • Limited alcohol intake & smoke will also be helpful in preventing cardiovascular disease at large. 

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