Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. But what does heart disease really mean? See the top 5 heart conditions for men and women and how you can take measures to lower your risk.
Coronary Heart Disease: This condition is the most common type of heart disease and kills nearly 380,000 individuals each year. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) occurs when arteries are clogged with a hardened build-up of plaque. These pathways that normally carry blood to the heart are now unable to do so, increasing the risk of a heart attack. To avoid plaque building up in your arteries, be sure to reduce your intake of high-fat foods and engage in regular exercise. CAD is often the consequence of unhealthy lifestyle choices and can be avoided with preventative care.
Heart Failure: Contrary to what you may think by the name, heart failure is when the heart is weakened and cannot properly pump blood to the rest of the body. You can live with heart failure but it is a dangerous condition and needs to be monitored. Those with heart failure should monitor their diet, engage in an exercise routine and take precautions to help reduce symptoms. Once heart damage reaches this level it cannot be undone but you can take care to prevent further damage or reduce the symptoms.
Arrhythmia: Your heart has a regular rhythm at which it beats. With an arrhythmia, your heart may be beating faster or slower than is normal. It may also beat erratically which also causes issues. Your heart must pump at a proper pace to ensure blood is being pumped effectively. An arrhythmia may be caused by interrupted pathways or when other parts of the heart, that do not normally control the heartbeat, take over.
Cardiomyopathy: Disease of the heart muscle is known as cardiomyopathy. In most cases, the heart muscle often becomes thick or stiff. It becomes difficult for the heart to pump the blood it needs to perform and as a result complications can occur. This condition may also lead to other types of heart disease such as arrhythmias or heart failure. Your cardiologist may have a way to monitor and help reduce symptoms.
Hypertension: Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension occurs when the force of the blood flowing through your arteries is high. Blood pressure can run in your family and may be caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices. Eating foods high in salt, chronic stress, or addictions to alcohol or cigarettes may cause hypertension which can eventually lead to more serious heart-related problems.
Heart disease affects millions of people around the world each year. In order to reduce your risk of heart disease be sure to take plenty of preventative care measures. Eat a healthy diet full of antioxidant-rich foods, get daily exercise, and avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking or drinking. The better you take care of your heart now, the better your chances for a long and healthy life.