Heart disease is a group of diseases that affect the heart’s health. According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, representing a serious public health problem.
Heart diseases are considered multifactorial, as several factors can influence their development. These factors include genetic predisposition, obesity, environmental factors, and issues related to lifestyle and eating habits.
Sedentarism and consuming foods rich in fats are one of the main villains for heart health. Thus, it is evident that cultivating a healthy life routine, including physical activity and a balanced diet, can help prevent heart disease.
It is essential to make the population aware of the risks of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, this content brings essential information to help ensure the health of your heart and your family members.
What Are Heart Diseases?
Heart disease encompasses a group of disorders, such as cardiac (heart attack), which can affect the functioning of the heart and the blood vessels that supply it. However, there are other types of heart disease. Next, we separate the most common ones and their main symptoms and causes.
Acute Myocardial Infarction
Better known as a heart attack, acute myocardial infarction is caused by the lack or reduction of blood supply to parts of the heart muscle. This compromises the arrival of nutrients and oxygen to heart cells, leading to the death of these cells and damaging heart tissue.
The most common cause of heart attack is coronary artery disease, caused by the blockage of blood vessels that irrigate the heart due to the formation and accumulation of fatty plaques on the vessel walls, preventing blood flow.
These plaques are formed from various cardiovascular risk factors, which “attack” the walls (endothelium) of the arteries, initiating a grandiose inflammatory process of endothelial dysfunction. The “clogging” plaques are mainly formed of cholesterol, and their accumulation causes the inside of the arteries to narrow over time, which can partially or completely block blood flow, in a process called atherosclerosis.
Hyperintensive Heart Disease (High Blood Pressure)
This is a disease derived from a disturbance in the blood pressure of blood vessels, high blood pressure. The chronic increase in blood pressure impairs and overloads the functioning of the heart, which can progress to organ growth (cardiomegaly) and heart failure.
Hypertension is usually a silent disease, but some symptoms or signs can be seen, such as dizziness, chest pain, headache, blurred vision and tinnitus.
Risk factors for hypertension include excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and excessive salt consumption. So always pay attention to food labels. In addition, there is a genetic predisposing factor in which children of hypertensive parents are more likely to develop the disease.
Heart failure occurs when the heart becomes “weaker” and cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Over time, the person begins to show symptoms or signs such as difficulty breathing, fatigue, weakness, swelling, and palpitations.
It is a condition associated with other cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure and the narrowing of blood vessels (atherosclerosis). Still, it can also be related to adopting unhealthy lifestyle habits (abusive intake of alcoholic beverages, for example), diabetes, infections (myocarditis, etc.) and other comorbidities.
Rheumatic Heart Disease
The disease generates heart damage due to complications derived from acute rheumatic fever.
Rheumatic fever results from complications of strep throat infections caused by Streptococcus bacteria. It can occur at any age but is more common in children and teenagers. The big problem is that this disease can affect other body parts besides the throat, such as joints, the central nervous system and the heart.
When not treated correctly, rheumatic disease can leave severe cardiac sequelae. In these cases, the heart muscle and valves can be affected, both acutely and chronically, impairing the functioning of the heart.
Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart defects result from problems with the formation of the heart during pregnancy, especially in the first eight weeks, when the baby’s heart is developing.
As a result, the child may have different symptoms, depending on the type of heart disease. Treatment also varies according to the severity and characteristics of the malformation, usually including pharmacological treatment and routine medical follow-up. In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be required.
How To Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases?
It is essential to highlight that most risk factors are modifiable. That is, adopting healthy lifestyle habits contributes a lot to maintaining the health of your heart.
It is essential to change your lifestyle: to remain physically active; practice physical activities regularly; adopt a balanced; and keep your body weight within healthy parameters. Quitting smoking and avoiding the harmful use of alcohol are also practical attitudes to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, always keep your routine exams up to date, particularly the measurement of blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood glucose. If you are taking medication for hypertension or diabetes, it is essential to keep these parameters controlled and monitored regularly.
Also Read: Seven Foods For A Healthier Heart