Imagine an organ in your body, no bigger than the size of your fist. Seems small, doesn’t it?. Well, size often does fool all of us. That very small-sized organ is responsible for pumping blood all over our bodies. The very reason you are alive, waking up in the morning and going back to bed every night.
You might have already guessed what organ is in question here. Yes, your heart.
The heart is one of the most important organs in our body along with the brain. The constant pumping of blood and oxygen all over the body 24 hours in a day, for 365 days, for 50 or 60 years is no joke for a fist-sized organ. Just like any other organ in the body, the heart as well is fragile to some extent. Even though your rib cage becomes an internal armor for the heart, but not all damage is externally caused which brings to a collection of diseases which is very common all over the world in people of all ages and sizes.
This collection of diseases might start with something as small as a clot and eventually grow into something major, hence it is very important to not ignore any kind of sign which might indicate some sort of damage to the heart, no matter how small or inconvenient it might seem.
The ‘infamous’ collection of diseases affected the heart is called Cardiovascular Diseases.
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Now, the question that many of you might ask is what is Cardiovascular disease, right?.
By definition, cardiovascular disease is a heart and heart vessel disease which is mainly related to a condition known as atherosclerosis, a condition where ‘plaque’ builds up in the walls of the arteries.
Once the plaque keeps building up, it takes up most of the space in the artery, as a result of which the blood flow in the arteries is blocked. This, in turn, results in the heart not getting enough blood and oxygen and also not able to give blood and oxygen to other parts of the body as well.
There are several conditions which are included under cardiovascular diseases which play a role in the gradual damage of the heart and other organs as well.
Some of the conditions which are included under Cardiovascular disease are:
- Heart Attack
- Ischemic Heart Disease – This disease is caused when there is a problem of blood circulation in and around the heart.
- Cerebrovascular Disease – In this type of cardiovascular disease, the blood circulation between the brain and the heart is hampered. It is commonly called a stroke.
- Peripheral Vascular Disease – This particular disease affects the lower part of the body, the legs to be specific.
- Rheumatic Heart Disease – This disease affects the person during their formative years. Due to a certain bacteria, the joints and heart valves are affected to a great extent due to which the effect on the heart appears in the later years.
- Congenital Heart Disease – A birth defect is the primary cause of a congenital heart disease. It affects the very formation of the heart. It can be as small as a hole in a valve of the heart to more complex deformities. This affects the blood flow in the heart and lungs.
Cardiovascular Risk Factors:
These risk factors are segregated into two types. They are called non-modifiable factors and other factors.
So the non-modifiable Cardiovascular Risk Factors are:
One of the most important and universal Cardiovascular risk factors is age. The increase of a person’s age makes them more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease.
Another important Cardiovascular risk factor is Gender. It has been seen after research and case studies that before the age of 60, men are at a greater risk of getting cardiovascular diseases than women.
We can’t choose our family. It is a combo deal. Our parents, relatives, siblings and so on. Genetics play an important role in most of the diseases known to you. Similarly, in this case, family history is another cardiovascular risk factor. You are inclined to get a cardiovascular disease if any relative in the family had experienced an early heart disease or condition.
These are the three non-modifiable cardiovascular risk factors. But with regard to cardiovascular disease, there are other factors which can be controlled and kept a check on to reduce the risk of getting a cardiovascular disorder.
Some of the other cardiovascular risk factors are:
Butter, Cheese, Cream. Who doesn’t love these right? These foods are harmful in ways you cannot imagine. It is one of the most common cardiovascular risk factors. Excessive consumption of these products results in excessive cholesterol which is not good for the body. This cholesterol gets accumulated in the walls of the arteries resulting in blockage of the blood flow, resulting in a myocardial infarction. Complicated term? It means HEART ATTACK.
High Blood Pressure:
Your monotonous or over adventurous lifestyle may also result in cardiovascular diseases. Even though blood pressure issues are almost always a hereditary trait, lifestyle plays an important role too as a cardiovascular risk factor. High blood pressure is harmful to the arteries and often results in a heart attack. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced diet with plenty of exercises to keep the blood pressure normal.
Alcohol is like the plague. There are controlled amounts of alcohol consumption which most people do not follow making excessive alcohol intake another cardiovascular risk factor. Excessive intake of alcohol results in the direct damage of the heart muscle which can cause irregular beating of the heart, which in turn may cause cardiovascular diseases.
Couch Potato. This is a very common word you might hear your parents saying for you or other people. Lack of physical activity is another cardiovascular risk factor which affects blood flow directly and may result in cardiovascular diseases. Weight control reduced blood pressure is good for the heart. It is advised to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. By exercise, not walking. Rigorous exercise.
Your heart is under a severe amount of pressure to perform well each and every second of the day. Increasing the already severe amount of pressure for it by not eating healthy, drinking excessively and not taking appropriate care of the cardiovascular system is the least you can do to prevent various cardiovascular diseases.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr. AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man.