The heart is at the center of all your body’s functions. From helping muscles run to giving your brain oxygen, it is central to your way of life. It is vital that your health is of utmost importance as you may acquire a heart disease that could threaten your life.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease, is a catch-all phrase used to describe ailments that affect the most important organ in the body. Also known as cardiovascular disease, this is a condition that is more likely to affect older people, and is often found to be hereditary. Heart disease is a major cause of death throughout the world, and many of its variants are considered “silent killers” due to their asymptomatic nature.
Despite the few symptoms associated with heart disease, it has been closely related to increases in blood pressure and cholesterol, which may lead to hardening of the arteries, heart attacks and strokes. Heart disease is more likely to be triggered when the vessels are not functioning correctly because of improper diet and lack of exercise.
Other Problems Related to Heart Disease
Many heart problems are tied to the condition of your arteries. Arteries are not veins, as they carry oxygenated blood away from the heart and to the rest of the body. Arteriosclerosis is a condition that causes the arteries to harden, and is a complication of heart disease. This condition prevents blood from flowing through the body as the arteries lose elasticity.
An alternate problem is atherosclerosis. This condition occurs when cholesterol builds up causing plaque and fat to be deposited in the arteries. Instead of hardening, the arteries become narrower and blood is unable to flow through. When the heart can’t get enough blood to pump, a person may experience angina, or chest pain.
Heart attacks and strokes are by far the deadliest complications associated with heart disease. These occur when the heart malfunctions. In the case of heart attacks, it is when a blood clot travels to your heart, compromising normal function. Strokes are dangerous to the heart and brain. These occur when the brain is unable to receive enough blood because of clotting or a blood vessel bursting.
Acquiring Heart Disease
Unlike diseases that are caused by virus or bacteria, heart disease is not contagious. Rather, there are risk factors that increase the chances of a person to acquire heart disease. One of these factors is old age. When people get older, the functioning of the heart could not be as healthy as it uses to be while we are young. The heart also deteriorates especially because of unhealthy lifestyle. As earlier said, heart disease is also hereditary. When you have family members who had the same problems, most likely you could also acquire the same.
However, some risk factors of heart disease are controllable. Among these factors are smoking, having high blood pressure, being overweight, and not exercising. These entire factors, if not monitored can contribute to having a heart disease.
Signs of Heart Disease
What is dangerous about heart disease is its lack of visible symptoms. In many cases, the disease is detected when chest pain is already being experienced or a heart attack or stroke has already occurred.
To help detect heart disease, the following procedures may be used. Electrocardiogram records the electric activity of the heart. This test helps determine whether or not the heartbeat is normal. Echocardiograms use sound waves that bound of parts of the heart. The image created by the sound waves is reflected on a monitor for analysis. Another test is the stress test, in which some cables are connected to the body and electrocardiogram machine. This test monitors changes in heart activity and how the muscles react during physical activity. Catheterization is another test that first requires a long and narrow tube to be inserted in the body. This tube ejects a special dye that helps locate narrow arteries within the body. The final test that may be employed is the carotid artery scan, which uses sound waves to detect blockages in the carotid artery.