Let’s talk about heart disease. Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. Because of this, we will dig a little deeper to find out what types of heart disease are prevalent and what can be done about them.
What are the leading types of heart disease?
The leading types of heart disease are coronary artery disease (CAD), hypertension (high blood pressure), and heart failure.
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a condition in which the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked due to the buildup of plaque (made up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances) on the inner walls of the vessels. This can lead to chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, heart attack, and other symptoms. CAD is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death worldwide.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the pressure of the blood flowing through the arteries is consistently too high. Blood pressure is measured as two numbers, with the systolic pressure (the higher number) measuring the force of the blood against the artery walls when the heart beats, and the diastolic pressure (the lower number) measuring the force of the blood against the artery walls when the heart is at rest between beats. A normal blood pressure reading is around 120/80 mm Hg. Hypertension is defined as a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher, or a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher, or both. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems if left untreated.
Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure (CHF), is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. This can occur when the heart is damaged or weakened and is no longer able to contract effectively, or when there is a problem with the heart valves that prevents blood from flowing properly. The symptoms of heart failure can include shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet, and rapid or irregular heartbeat. Heart failure can be caused by a number of different conditions, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, and previous heart attack. It is a progressive condition, which means it gets worse over time, if not treated properly.
What preventative measures can decrease your risk of heart disease?
There are several preventative measures that can decrease the risk of heart disease:
- Eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars, and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein
- Getting regular physical activity, aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week
- Maintaining a healthy weight and body mass index (BMI)
- Not smoking or using tobacco products, and avoiding secondhand smoke
- Managing stress through relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing
- Monitoring and treating high blood pressure, diabetes, and other conditions that can increase the risk of heart disease
- Having regular check-ups with a healthcare provider to monitor for signs and to discuss any risk factors that may need to be addressed
- Taking medications prescribed by a doctor if necessary, such as statins to lower cholesterol and aspirin to reduce the risk of blood clots
- Limiting alcohol consumption–excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart failure and other heart-related conditions
It is also important to note that some of these risk factors such as age, sex, and family history cannot be changed but can be managed with healthy lifestyle choices and regular check-ups.
At Visionary Wellness & Imaging, we specialize in finding abnormalities that may indicate current or future heart disease through our Heart Scan. Our state of the art technology allows us to see virtually every aspect of the heart and analyze its performance. With this information, we can guide you on your path forward to address any problems that are discovered. Don’t wait–schedule your appointment today!