Cardiovascular disease or CVD is a condition that affects the blood vessels or heart. Cardiovascular disease will build fatty contents inside the arteries and increase the risks of blood clots. It can also damage other body organs such as kidneys, brain, eyes, and heart. Specific lifestyle changes can help reduce cardiovascular disease risks, or doctor-prescribed medications can help, but the treatments are more likely to work in the early stages.
Types of cardiovascular disease
The following four are the primary types of CVDs:
- Coronary heart disease occurs when the oxygen-rich blood has trouble reaching the heart due to blockage or reduction. Coronary heart disease can lead to:
- Angina (chest pain by restricted blood flow)
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
- Strokes or TIA (mini-stroke) occur when the blood supply to the brain is restricted. A stroke or TIA can lead to death or brain damage. The symptoms of a stroke are FAST, which stands for—Face, Arms, Speech, and Time.
- Face: Unable to smile or face/mouth/eye might drop on both sides.
- Arms: Unable to lift both arms due to numbness and weakness
- Speech: Unable to speak, or speech might be slurred, and unable to understand what others saying
- Time: It’s about time to call for a medical emergency
- Peripheral arterial disease happens when the arteries blockage the limbs (typically the legs). The peripheral arterial disease can lead to:
- Hair loss on feet and legs
- Cramps in leg
- Weakness or numbness in the legs
- Constant ulcer or open soars on the legs
- The aortic disease affects the aorta, the largest blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The common disease for aortic is an aortic aneurysm, where the aorta bulges and weakens; this doesn’t have any symptoms, but it can be life-threatening when bursts or bleeding happens.
Risks factors for cardiovascular disease
The specific and exact reason behind cardiovascular disease but certain things can increase the risks factors. The more risk factors one has, the more the chances of increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Following are the primary risk factors:
- High blood pressure or hypertension
- High lipid profile or cholesterol
- Lack of activities
- Obesity (body BMI over 25)
- Family history
Other risk factors:
- Age, since people over the age of 50 tend to develop the risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Gender, men are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
- Unhealthy diet
- Alcohol abuse
Preventions for cardiovascular disease
- Quit smoking
- Follow a healthy and balanced diet
- Regular exercise
- Maintain proper body weight
Limit alcohol consumption
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD
Page last reviewed: 23 JUNE 2022