What are the different cardiovascular diseases (CVD)?
Published Jan 27, 2023 • By Rahul Roy
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are diseases pertaining to the heart and blood vessels. They are also the leading cause of mortality worldwide and healthy lifestyle choices are necessary to not just manage the condition but also lead a long and healthy life.
What are cardiovascular diseases (CVD)? What are coronary heart diseases, strokes, peripheral arterial diseases, and aortic diseases? What can be done for their management and treatment?
We explain all in this article!
What is a cardiovascular disease?
Cardiovascular disease is a term used to describe diseases that affect the heart and/or the blood vessels. There are many reasons why these irregularities occur, ranging from genetic dispositions to way of living.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading causes of death worldwide. According to the WHO, it is estimated that 17.9 million people die from CVDs each year, accounting for 32% of deaths globally. In the UK alone, it is responsible for quarter of all deaths, attributing to more than 160,000 deaths each year. Most of these deaths result from heart attacks and strokes.
Causes of Cardiovascular Diseases
Cardiovascular diseases are caused by factors that accumulate over time and also by factors that are out of our control. Lifestyle choices are an important determinant for its occurrence, although there may be other factors involved too-
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Lack of physical activity
- Family history of heart disease
- Excess weight or obesity
- Sex – Men have a higher probability of getting CVDs compared to women
- Age – The older a person, the higher the probability to get a CVD
What are the types of CVD?
There are generally 4 main types of CVD-
Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary Heart Disease is the most common type of cardiovascular disease. This occurs due to blockage of the flow of oxygen rich blood to and from the heart. This blockage is generally caused by a build up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. This strain to the heart can lead to –
- Angia – Pain in the chest due to limited blood flow to the heart.
- Heart attack – Severe pain in the chest due to blood flow to the heart being blocked suddenly.
- Heart failure – Complete failure of functioning of the heart to pump blood properly. It is associated with a high mortality rate.
Strokes / Cerebrovascular accidents
A stroke (also called Cerebrovascular accident) is a serious medical condition where the blood supply to the brain gets interrupted, leading to brain damage and in some cases, death.
Brain cells deteriorate or die without a regular supply of oxygen and nutrients that are supplied by the blood pumped by the heart. This can lead to a condition called ‘brain dead’.
It is imperative for a person to be medically treated immediately.
The most common visible symptoms are a droopy face, numbness in arms preventing active movement, slurred speech, dizziness and lack of co-ordination to name a few.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral Arterial Disease occurs when blood flow is restricted to the limbs, arms and most often legs.
It is characterized by pain in the legs when engaging in physical movement. Other symptoms may also include muscle weakness, hair loss in affected body part, skin that is cool to the touch and in some cases ulcers too.
Although rarely life threatening, it is recommended to visit the doctor as soon as possible for a checkup.
The Aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, carrying the blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Damage or improper functioning of the aorta leads to aortic diseases.
Aortic aneurysms are the most common aortic disease and it occurs due to weakening of the aorta, and causes it to bulge outwards.
It is denoted by pain in the chest, difficulty breathing and swallowing, low blood pressure etc.
Other aortic diseases include aortic insufficiency, aortic occlusive disease, aortic arch syndrome, aortic intramural hematoma to name a few.
How to treat and manage Cardiovascular Diseases?
The treatment of cardiovascular diseases is dependent on the cause and type of disease. In most cases, treatment will involve medication and in serious cases – surgery and other procedures.
However, the risk of incurring heart disease problems can be remedied by making healthy lifestyle choices that will show a positive impact in the long run –
- Reducing or quitting smoking
- Eating healthy and nutritious foods
- In case of diabetes, managing the condition well
- Exercising regularly
- Managing stress
- Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol
- Regularly visiting the doctor for medical check-ups
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It is important to acknowledge their adverse effects and take necessary precautions early, to benefit a person’s cardiovascular health in the long term. So, do not hesitate to visit the doctor for an appointment as regularly as possible. And always remember that it is never too late nor too early to make lifestyle changes that protect against heart disease and other complications. Remember, health is a journey and not a destination.
Did you like this article?
Click on "Like" or share your feelings and questions with the community in the comments below!
Take care of yourself!
Cardiovascular disease - Illnesses & conditions | NHS inform (www.nhsinform.com)
Cardiovascular disease - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Cardiovascular (Heart) Diseases: Types and Treatments (webmd.com)
Heart Disease Facts | (www.cdc.gov)
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) - types, causes & symptoms - (www.bhf.org)
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) (who.int)
Heart disease - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com)
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) | (www.cdc.gov)
Cardiovascular Disease: Types, Causes & Symptoms (clevelandclinic.org)