The definition of cardiovascular disease, tells you almost everything you need to know about the seriousness of this disease. Cardiovascular disease “refers to several types of conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, also know as the circulatory system”(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). It develops when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This then narrows the arteries making it harder for blood to flow, which then leads to blood clots and then eventually to a heart attack or stroke (American Heart Association, 2018). Both of these happen when blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the brain get blocked so the cells die.
Heart attack and stroke are only two of the cardiovascular conditions that come along with cardiovascular disease. Some of the other common conditions include heart failure, arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, stroke and angina. The second leading cause of death in Canada is heart disease and affects 1.3 million Canadians, so please listen and take this information seriously (Heart and Stroke, 2018)! Heart failure is when the heart isn’t strong enough to pump your blood effectively and it pools, whereas an attack happens because of a blood supply blockage. Arrhythmia refers to a heart that beats either too quickly or slowly. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops suddenly and is a medical emergency, so call 9-1-1 if you believe this is happening. Angina is chest pain, it can be described as a squeezing or burning.
There are a few basic signs of a heart attack that are important to know (Heart and Stroke, 2018). These can vary between men and women, but if you are feeling any of these signs please call 9-1-1 immediately.
- Chest discomfort: pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain
- Upper body discomfort: in the neck, jaw, shoulder, arms or back
- Shortness of breath
This terrible disease can affect everyone, of any race, age and background, however, living a particular lifestyle can increase, or decrease your chances.
Would you like to decrease your chances of this disease?
The first thing you can do is eat healthily. Cutting back on saturated fats and cholesterol, and sticking to foods high in fiber and protein. Eating fruits and vegetables is so important! A second way to help avoid this disease is to maintain a healthy body weight and to exercise regularly. Try for moderate exercise at least 3-4 times a week. Keeping a healthy weight is not always easy, but when you think of the consequences, it should encourage you to never give up! Lastly, try to limit your smoking consumption as smoking restricts the blood vessels.
Until next time,
Keep living the Kait Life!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Cardiovascular Health
Heart and Stroke. (2018). Heart Conditions
American Heart Association. (2018). What is Cardiovascular Disease?