What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is the umbrella term used to describe a number of medical conditions affecting the heart and the blood vessels supplying the heart.
While many people seem to believe heart disease is an illusive ailment, it has become increasingly common. Statistics from 2007 have revealed that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.
There are a number of conditions that fall under this term, including the following:
Identifying the Differences between Types of Heart Disease
- Arrhythmias: These are irregularities of the heart beat which can either be completely harmless or extremely dangerous, increasing your chances of other heart problems.
- Cardiomyopathy: Also known as disease of the heart muscle.
- Congenital heart disease: This refers to a number of heart conditions that are present at birth and may be diagnosed antenatally, shortly after birth or later in the life of an individual.
- Congestive heart failure: This is a condition that can result from any heart-related problem that causes the heart to struggle to pump sufficient blood through the body. The result is that many of the body’s organs are then deprived of essential blood supplies.
- Coronary artery disease (CAD) otherwise known as coronary heart disease (CHD): This is the most common type of heart disease which causes the arteries to harden and narrow (usually as a result of plaque build up), thus restricting blood flow to the heart. CAD is also the leading cause of angina and heart attacks.
- Hypertensive heart disease: Caused by high blood pressure.
- Inflammatory heart disease: An inflammation of the heart muscle and/or the tissue surrounding it.
- Valvular heart disease: This term refers to any heart disease involving one or more of the heart valves.
Diagnosing Heart Disease
Each type of heart disease has different symptoms, although many of these symptoms may be similar.
Some commonly experienced heart-related symptoms which may suggest signs of underlying heart disease include:
- Angina: This is the term used to describe chest pain and discomfort often present in serious heart problems. Angina can be experienced as heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing or a painful feeling in your chest. It is often mistaken for indigestion or heartburn.
- Shortness of breath
- Irregularities in heart beat which can be felt as palpitations, or noticeable changes in speed of heart rate
- Dizziness or fainting
- Weakness or fatigue
- Swelling of your ankles, feet or abdomen (edema)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Cough or wheezing
- Cyanosis (a bluish tint to the skin, fingernails and lips)
What Causes Heart Disease?
Heart disease is caused by a number of factors. The two categories of risk factors are major and contributing. Major risk factors are those proven to increase your risk of a heart-related disease. Contributing risk factors are the ones doctors consider can lead to heart disease, although their exact role remains undefined.
Major risk factors in developing heart disease include:
Contributing risk factors in the development of heart disease include:
- Birth control pills
- Sex hormones
Help for Heart Disease
If you experience heart-related symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention so that tests can be performed and the necessary treatment provided. If you ever feel that you may be experiencing a heart attack, take action as soon as possible and call 911.
Many people have begun to turn to herbal and homeopathic remedies to reduce the chances of heart complications, and to help support heart health once problems have surfaced.
Herbs such as Crataegus oxyacantha (Hawthorn), Passiflora incarnate, Viburnum opulus and Ginkgo biloba have been widely used to promote heart health and support the recovery of heart-related diseases.
These ingredients not only act as tonics for optimal heart health, but also assist in treating the underlying triggers of many heart conditions such as stress and high blood pressure. Heart disease is often avoidable. A holistic approach of incorporating a healthy lifestyle with natural remedies can greatly support your heart and overall health.
Note: People already using prescription medication for cardiovascular conditions should not stop or change their medication without first consulting a doctor. Also remember that it is important to source natural medicines from a reputable company in order to ensure maximum safety and efficacy.