Heart Disease: Number One Killer

It’s no secret that millions of people die of a heart disease around the world every year. But do you know that heart disease is actually number one killer? In fact, one in four deaths in the USA is due to a heart condition.

Why is that? What are the symptoms we should be looking for? You’ll find your answers below.

Heart disease disorders

Cardiovascular diseases are disorders that affect the heart and the blood vessels. They are the leading cause of death both in men and women around the world, not only in the USA.

Don’t misunderstand me. We are not talking only about heart attacks. Actually, we can distinguish the following heart and blood vessels disorders:

  • coronary heart disease (CHD)– the most common heart disease, which affects the blood vessels, supplying the heart with blood
  • congenital heart disease – this is a malfunction of the heart’s structure present at birth
  • cerebrovascular disease – a disease of the blood vessels in the brain
  • rheumatic heart disease – damage to the heart and the heart valve as a result of a rheumatic fever
  • deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – the formation of blood clots, which can reach the heart and lungs

Heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease when plaque builds on the wall of the blood vessels. In some point, the plaque is too much, and blood can’t flow to the heart. That’s when a person gets a myocardial infarction (heart attack).

 

Symptoms of heart disease

The reason why heart diseases are number one killer is that people don’t pay enough attention to their symptoms and don’t take measures at the first signs of symptoms. As a result, sometimes they arrive in the hospital when it’s already too late for an intervention.

The usual symptom of a heart attack is a chest pain, but it’s not the only one. And knowing all the signs and symptoms might be what saves your life. So be on the lookout for:

  • chest pain
  • pain or discomfort in the arms, jaws, back, neck
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • cold sweat
  • lightheadedness

Angina pectoris is a condition when the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen, and the person feels tightness in the chest, and chest discomfort. It’s not a medical disorder, but rather a symptom of underlying CHD.

Arrhythmia, on the other hand, is something that happens to every person. It’s an irregular heartbeat – it might be too slow, too fast, or erratic. It’s a cause for concern when it happens too often, or you have already a heart problem.

Since an underlying blood vessel disease might have no symptoms until the problem gets serious and blood can’t reach the heart, regular medical check-ups are necessary.

 

Risk factors for heart disease

The major risk for heart disease is our lifestyle and behavior. Especially dangerous are:

  • unhealthy diet (eating food high in sugar, fat, salt)
  • physical inactivity
  • smoking
  • drinking alcohol excessively

These habits usually lead to conditions, which increase the risk of a heart disease, like:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol levels
  • overweight and obesity

 

Heart disease is number one killer, but it’s completely preventable if one has a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly. Also, remember that you shouldn’t ignore worrisome symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath.