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Heart disease is a wide-reaching term to describe a range of conditions that affect the heart. The term “heart disease” is often used interchangeably with “cardiovascular disease.” Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack (a sudden and sometimes fatal blockage of blood flow to the heart), chest pain (angina) or heart failure (the inability of the heart to pump blood asit should).Other heart conditions, such as infections and conditions that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or beating rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease. Over 25 percent of all deaths in the United States are caused by heart disease. According to the Cleveland Clinic, heart disease claims more lives each year than the next 4 leading causes of death combined—cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, and diabetes mellitus.
There are dozens of heart diseases. The following are the most common:
There are many risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing heart disease.
For risk factors for specific conditions, visit the following pages:
If your doctor suspects you may have heart disease, he or she may conduct several of the following diagnostic tests:
The following symptoms may be signs of heart disease:
For symptoms of specific heart conditions, visit the following pages:
Over 25 percent of all deaths in the United States are caused by heart disease. However, if treated properly, heart disease patients should be able to live comfortably with most conditions.
For the prognosis of specific heart conditions, visit the following pages:
No matter what is causing your heart’s health to be compromised, there are things you can do to improve it:
Most heart diseases and risk factors contributing to heart diseases are screened for at regular physicals. The American Heart Association stresses the importance of regular screening for cardiovascular disease. American heart association volunteer and director of William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, Barry A. Franklin, Ph. D., said on the matter, “Regular cardiovascular screening is important because it helps you detect risk factors in their earliest stages. This way, you can treat the risk factor with lifestyle changes and pharmacotherapies, if appropriate, before it ultimately leads to the development of cardiovascular disease.”
Your doctor will most likely check the following:
If your doctor suspects you have a heart disease after a thorough examination, he or she may conduct several diagnostic tests to arrive at a diagnosis.
For healthy people, the following steps have been shown to help prevent or reduce the risk factors for heart disease. Keep in mind that reducing one risk factor may help reduce others:
Supplements. The following list of supplements is offered by the University of Maryland Medical Center; always check with your cardiologist or primary doctor before adding supplements to your regimen for treating and preventing heart failure. Many people with heart conditions take multiple medications, including blood-thinning medications, blood pressure medications, and others. the supplements below may interact with these (and other medications) and may not be right for people with certain medical conditions.
Stress reduction practices. Since stress is associated with heart disease, it’s prudent to try techniques to help reduce it. The following methods have been shown to reduce stress in some people:
Call your doctor if:
Call 911 if you are experiencing the symptoms of a HEART ATTACK which include:
Call 911 if you are experiencing the symptoms of a STROKE which include:
You will probably have different questions to ask your doctor depending on your heart condition. Be open about all your concerns. If you’re having difficulty focusing, bring along a friend or family member. Below you’ll find general questions you might want to ask your doctor about heart disease as suggested by the American Heart Association.
QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDICATION
QUESTIONS ABOUT DIET
QUESTIONS ABOUT EXERCISE
How to Stay Relevant While Aging
Extreme Exercise and Heart Health
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