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Heart disease is the major cause of disability amongst individuals in the United States. Statistics have revealed that in US every 33th second an individual dies of heart disease; which is greater than the number of deaths due to cancer and AIDS put together. If this trend continues, then by the year 2020 heart disease will undoubtedly be the leading cause of death worldwide. Heart disease affects more women than men and majority of women die due to heart disease than due to breast cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled heart disease as the leading killer in US, UK, Australia and Canada.
What is more disturbing are the facts which state that majority of the deaths that occur due to heart disease do not give any prior warning. There are no symptoms, no warning signs to the individuals by which they can take precaution and also necessary action.
In view of the above stated facts, it gets important to understand heart diseases, its types, symptoms and preventive steps.
Heart disease should not be confused with cardiovascular disease; these do not mean the same. Cardiovascular disease involves disorders of the blood vessels and the heart; while heart disease takes into consideration disorders related only to the heart. Heart disease or cardiac disease are of several types and it includes angina, arrhythmia, congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease, dilated cardiomyopathy, myocardial infarction, mitral regurgitation, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, pulmonary stenosis and mitral valve prolapse.
Heart disease occurs due to any dysfunction with the cardiac muscles and narrowing of the coronary arteries. Due to such conditions, it gets difficult for your heart to pump adequate blood causing heart disease. Coronary artery disease which occurs due to narrowing of the arteries is the major cause of heart attack. Narrowing of the arteries is a gradual process that happens over the years. It doesn’t happen overnight and takes several years down the line to narrow down. Once narrowed the heart experiences difficulty in pumping blood and it has to work harder than usual.
Heart attacks are usually silent and do not give any warning signal. Usually there are no symptoms to alert the individual when an attack is about to occur. However, there are certain circumstances when the body tries to throw signs and symptoms before an attack, but unfortunately the individual fails to recognize these.
Scientists have found a strong association between red meat and heart disease. A compound in red meat known as L-carnitine is known to play foul in causation of heart disease. This compound when digested gives rise to byproduct known as trimethylamine-N-Oxide (TMAO) which is known to clog the arteries.
Heart disease is preventable and can certainly be kept miles away from your lives. However, in case of congenital defect, prevention is just about impossible. Congenital heart disease is present at birth which can be treated with appropriate medications and surgery. Similarly, there are certain age related heart diseases which are also hard to prevent and therefore are bound to haunt certain percentage of senior citizens.
Leading an active lifestyle and adhering to a healthy diet plan are some of the principles for keeping heart diseases at bay. Having high blood pressure and diabetes puts you at a greater risk of contracting heart disease. In addition, stress is yet another major factor that increases your chances of falling prey to cardiac diseases. It needs to be mentioned that living with high blood pressure and diabetes does exert an additional chance of getting heart disease, but effectively managing the disease would certainly lower your chances of developing the same.
Thus, it becomes worth mentioning that with proper diet, exercise and refraining from smoking and alcohol will go a long way in giving you a healthy heart. Build a healthy heart with an active lifestyle!!
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Photo credit: Mayo Clinic / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
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