Heart disease: what are its causes?
Heart disease is a generic term used to describe a
family of conditions affecting the heart and sometimes
the blood vessels, leading to impaired heart function.
The various condition which fall under the
generic term of “heart disease” include:
- Coronary artery disease, which is caused by a
narrowing or a blockage of one or more arteries that
supply blood to the heart (called coronary arteries),
and often leads to heart attack. The leading cause of
coronary artery disease is atherosclerosis, a condition
in which cholesterol deposits build up in the vessels
heart arrhythmias, which is due to alterations in
the rate or regularity of the heart’s beat. There are
many types of heart arrhythmias, some mild and
transitory, others severe and sometimes
a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump
an adequate supply of blood to the body’s tissues, due
to a variety of cardiovascular conditions, such as heart
valve defects, functional or structural abnormalities of
the heart muscle and high blood pressure. When heart
muscle and valve dysfunctions are present at birth, they
are usually grouped under the generic term of
“congenital heart defects”.
which can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites.
above classification is not strict, since different
types of heart disease are often related to each other.
For example, both coronary artery disease and heart
arrhythmias can lead to heart failure, while heart
failure and coronary artery disease are predisposing
conditions for heart arrhythmias.
Heart disease: looking for the right symptoms
However, regardless of the type of heart disease,
there are certain symptoms that should alarm the patient
and make him or her to seek medical care. These symptoms
include fainting, chest pain and short breathing. Other
symptoms commonly associated with heart disease include
weakness or fatigue, persistent dry cough, swelling in
the legs, feet and/or abdomen and irregular heartbeat.
Fortunately many forms of heart disease are
treatable, especially when diagnosed early, but
treatment options largely vary depending on the type of
heart disease. They can include:
such as eating a low-fat low-salt diet, losing weight,
getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise for at
least 5 times a week, quitting smoking and moderating
various medications, depending
on the form of heart disease (low pressure lowering
drugs, cholesterol lowering medications,
anti-arrhythmic medicines, beta-blockers, vasodilators, anticoagulants and
surgery or other medical procedures
specifically designed to correct heart dysfunctions.
In any case treatment* and regular medical check-ups are
necessary to avoid serious complications, such as heart
attack, stroke and sudden cardiac arrest, which are
leading causes of death worldwide.
In order to be covered for heart
disease an appropriate
international health insurance plan is recommended
before the issue arises.