Top 3 Common Heart Conditions
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects roughly one in three Americans. Known as a silent killer, most people are unaware that they even have this condition. Hypertension puts a tremendous amount of stress on the cardiovascular system and can lead to a heart attack or stroke if left untreated.
Other health risks associated with high blood pressure include:
- Kidney damage
- Peripheral artery disease
- Memory loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- Vision loss
The good news is that high blood pressure can be controlled by making lifestyle changes, such as:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Keeping stress under control
Coronary Heart Disease, or Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary heart disease is the term commonly used to describe the plaque buildup in the heart’s arteries, but coronary artery disease would be a more accurate term. Health professionals use these terms interchangeably, but coronary heart disease is actually caused by coronary artery disease.
Regardless of what you call the condition, it’s bad news for your cardiovascular system. As plaque continues to build up in the arteries, it limits blood flow to the heart. The limited blood flow causes chest pains and angina. If a lesion erupts and forms a blood clot, it can completely cut off the blood and oxygen supply to the heart. Without immediate medical attention, the heart muscle will begin to die.
Risk factors for this condition include high LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and family history. Age is also a factor. Post-menopausal women are more susceptible, while men over the age of 45 are at a greater risk.
Approximately 700,000 Americans suffer from a stroke each year. There are three different types of stroke:
- Hemorrhagic stroke – This occurs when blood vessels burst and begin to bleed into the brain.
- Ischemic stroke – If plaque ruptures, forms a clot and cuts off the blood supply to the brain, an ischemic stroke occurs.
- Transient ischemic stroke – Also known as a mini-stroke, this occurs when the blood supply is only temporarily obstructed.
When you consider the fact that one in four deaths are heart-related, taking good care of your heart becomes increasingly important. Prevention is key, but those who are already suffering from heart disease may be able to manage and treat their condition with the help of an experienced cardiologist.