Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to diseases of the heart and blood vessels. "Cardio" refers to the heart and "vascular" to the entire arterial blood vessel system within the body including the brain, neck, chest, abdomen and legs.
The risk of CVD rises as people age, and men tend to develop CVD much earlier in life then women. More specifically, men age 45 and older are considered to be at increased risk for CVD, while women 55-65 and older share a similar increased risk due to age. A woman's female hormones are regarded as giving a level of protection from CVD before menopause.
Cardiovascular conditions including myocardial infarction, stroke, and their major risk factors have long been regarded as familial, in that individual risk in the current generation is increased if these have been present in a sibling or parent, especially at early ages. ...
However, not all familial resemblance has a genetic basis, and "cultural heritability" - broadly embrasing environmental conditions such as social and behavioral factors shared among family members - is recognized as an important component of heredity. Consequently, genes are considered together with environment in assessing their role in cardiovascular diseases.
You can help reduce your risk of heart disease by taking steps to control factors that put you at greater risk:
control your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, don't smoke, get enough exercise
Atherosclerosis (ath-er-o-skler-O-sis) is a disease in which plaque (plak) builds up inside your arteries.
Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body.
Atherosclerosis can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary atherosclerosis, involves the progressive narrowing of the arteries that nourish the heart muscle. Often there are no symptoms, but if one or more of these arteries become severely narrowed, angina may develop during exercise, stress, or other times when the heart muscle is not getting enough blood.
An estimated 17 million people die of CVDs, particularly heart attacks and strokes, every year. A substantial number of these deaths can be attributed to tobacco smoking, which increases the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease 2–3 fold. Physical inactivity and unhealthy diet are other main risk factors which increase individual risks to cardiovascular diseases.
Americans suffer more than 2 million heart attacks and strokes each year. Cardiovascular disease—including heart disease and stroke—is the leading cause of death in the United States. Every day, 2,200 people die from cardiovascular disease—that's 815,000 Americans each year, or 1 in every 3 deaths.
Potentially modifiable risk factors for CVD include tobacco use, physical inactivity, hypertension, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and a cluster of interrelated metabolic risk factors. Over the last several decades, efforts to prevent or treat CVD risk factors have resulted in significantly lower rates of CVD-related mortality.
The risk of cardiovascular disease is higher in African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, native Hawaiians and some Asian Americans. This increased risk is partly due to higher rates of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes in these populations.
Cardiovascular disease is a continuous and progressive disease, usually starting with the classic risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, smoking, and dyslipidemia. In this early stage, left ventricle (LV) structure and function will typically be normal. Over time, however, the pathologic effects of one or more CV risk factors may cause LV hypertrophy (LVH) to develop or an MI [myocardial infarction] to occur.
...aspirin still remains the most commonly prescribed drug for prevention of atherothrombotic events. This is due not only to its potent inhibition of the thromboxane A2 pathway, which is undoubtedly crucial for platelet activation and aggregation, but also because of a number of pleiotropic effects (suppression of acute phase
reactants and subclinical inflammation, stimulation of NO synthesis, immunomodulatory effect on activated macrophages and lymphocytes, and so on). ... In addition, aspirin seems to be generally well tolerated by most patients, and relatively few have contraindications to this drug or develop major bleeding.
As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Treatment for coronary heart disease (CHD) usually is the same for both women and men. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, medicines, medical and surgical procedures, and cardiac rehabilitation (rehab). ... Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program that can improve the health and well-being of people who have heart problems.