Essay on Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is a general name for a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions that affect the heart and sometimes the blood vessels as well. Risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease include having hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Other risk factors include being of African-American ancestry, male, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, having a lot of long-term stress, smoking and having a family history of a heart attack at an early age.
Some different types of cardiovascular disease includes angina, heart attack, heart failure, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and cardiac arrhythmias. Other forms of cardiovascular disease include congenital heart defects, cardiomyopathy, infections of the heart, coronary artery disease, heart valve disorders, myocarditis, and pericarditis. Symptoms of cardiovascular disease vary depending on the specific type of cardiovascular disease. A classic symptom of cardiovascular disease is chest pain.
However, with some forms of cardiovascular disease, such as atherosclerosis, there may be no symptoms in some people until life-threatening complications. Treatment of cardiovascular disease begins with prevention. Many forms of cardiovascular disease can be prevented or controlled effectively with prevention measures that include regular exercise, not smoking or drinking excessively, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a heart-healthy well-balanced diet. Risk factors, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension can be prevented or controlled through these lifestyle changes, regular medical care and/or medication.
Heart disease can be improved — or even prevented — by making certain lifestyle changes. The following changes can help anyone who wants to improve his or her heart health: Stop smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, especially atherosclerosis. Nicotine constricts blood vessels and forces your heart to work harder, and carbon monoxide reduces oxygen in your blood and damages the lining of your blood vessels. If you smoke, quitting is the best way to reduce your risk of heart disease and its complications.
Control your blood pressure. Ask your doctor for a blood pressure measurement at least every two years. Check your cholesterol. Ask your doctor for a baseline cholesterol test when you’re in your 20s and then at least every five years. Keep diabetes under control. If you have diabetes, tight blood sugar control can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Get moving. If you have heart disease, exercise helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and control diabetes, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure — all risk factors for heart disease.
If you have a heart arrhythmia or heart defect, there may be some restrictions on the activities you can do, so be sure to talk to your doctor first. With your doctor’s OK, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Even if you can’t make time for one 30- to 60-minute exercise session, you can still benefit from breaking up your activity into several 10-minute sessions. Eat healthy foods. A heart-healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains — and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium — can help you control your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Eating one or two servings of fish a week also is beneficial. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease. Weight loss is especially important for people who have large waist measurements — more than 40 inches (101. 6 centimeters, or cm) for men and more than 35 inches (88. 9 cm) for women — because people with this body shape are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease. Manage stress. Reduce stress as much as possible. Practice healthy techniques for managing stress, such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing. Practice good hygiene habits.
Staying away from other people when they are sick and regularly washing your hands can not only prevent heart infections but also can help prevent viral or bacterial infections that can put stress on your heart if you already have heart disease. Also, brushing and flossing your teeth regularly can prevent germs in your mouth from making their way to plaques in your heart, which could worsen cardiovascular disease. Get a flu shot. If you have cardiovascular disease, you’re at a greater risk of having a heart attack should you catch the flu. Getting a flu shot decreases this risk.