What is Cardiovascular Disease?

There are many types of heart disease and cardiovascular disease is one of those types. It is an all-encompassing term that is used to explain the variety of ailments that can affect the blood vessels going to and from your heart as well as the heart itself. Some subcategories of cardiovascular disease include stroke, coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypertension and heart attack.

Sometimes, cardiovascular disease is a term that is used interchangeably with heart disease. Either way you look at it, this affliction that can affect the arteries of the heart as well as the heart muscle itself is serious business. Heart disease aka cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of people in the United States and even the world.

In order to be treated for cardiovascular disease, you have to identify its symptoms and learn the causes in order to recognize it in yourself. Of course, a yearly doctor’s exam could help matters too, but rarely do people actually submit to yearly physicals unless it is a work requirement.

Cardiovascular Disease Causes

Indeed, cardiovascular disease points to physical issues concerning the blood vessels and the heart muscle itself. One of the largest culprits that cause injury to them is atherosclerosis, an arterial disease.

Arteries are important because they carry the life-sustaining oxygen and other nutrients through the blood to all parts of the body. These supple vessels ensure your body is getting the nourishment it needs to stay healthy.

Unfortunately, a lifetime of an unhealthy diet full of fats and cholesterol as well as lack of exercise can cause a build-up of plaque which causes the arteries to stiffen up. When the arteries lose elasticity, this can hinder the healthy blood flow to the body. Smoking and obesity are other factors that can contribute to atherosclerosis, a by-product of cardiovascular disease.

Of course, it is important to recognize that there are other causes of cardiovascular disease besides atherosclerosis such as congenital defects, aneurysms, pericardium (sac around the heart) afflictions, and hypertension, disease that affects the valves of the heart and even diseases of the heart muscle itself.

Staying on Top of your Health

You cannot prevent cardiovascular disease that is caused by congenital defects but you can work hard to ensure that you do not develop it. Clean living is the best way to stay healthy. This means you should follow a healthy diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol and bump up your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Moderate your alcohol intake and stop smoking are two other important lifestyle choices. Add daily exercise to maintain a healthy weight and you have the makings of a healthy heart.

The most important part of avoiding cardiovascular disease is ensuring your commitment to getting yearly physical exams at the doctor is met. Donate blood periodically not only to help someone else but also to get the free cholesterol reading that comes with it. Do what you can to avoid a lifetime of medication and surgeries that are sure to happen if you get cardiovascular disease.

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