The term heart disease is really an umbrella expression. It’s a range of conditions that have an effect on your heart’s health. Many people use this term and cardiovascular disease interchangeably. Cardiovascular disease includes specific disorders linked to blood vessels that are blocked or narrowed and can result in heart attacks, angina or strokes.
Overview of Heart Disease
Knowing the causes of heart disease can help prevent its occurrence. Heart doctors say this knowledge also triggers healthier lifestyle changes to treat existing cardiac illness and avoid cardiac arrest.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiac disease is the leading cause of death for both males and females. Around 600,000 Americans succumb to it every year, representing about one in every four deaths. An American suffers a heart attack each 34 seconds.
Types and Causes
The causes of heart-related disease vary according to type, and there are a number of types. The Mayo Clinic cites these top disorders, along with their causes:
Atherosclerosis ranks as the most common type of cardiovascular disease. It’s often caused by correctable issues like being overweight, insufficient exercise, smoking and unhealthy nutrition. Artery walls become thickened and stiff from plaque. The result is restricted blood flow.
Arrhythmia occurs when your heart fails to beat in a predictable and consistent pattern and can lead to cardiac disease. Among the many causes are congenital heart defects, drug abuse, stress, valve disease and some medications. In a diseased or defective heart, electrical impulses sometimes fail to launch or move through the organ.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause heart attacks. Around 75 percent of heart failure cases begin with hypertension, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Having diabetes means an elevated risk of heart attacks or strokes, which affect diabetics more than twice as frequently as they do others. The American Diabetes Association says two of every three diabetics will die due to heart disease or a stroke.
Cardiomyopathy is a disorder that results in a thickened, enlarged heart muscle. It has three types, each with its own causes. Experts don’t know the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy, the most common form, but suspect reduced blood flow to the heart, toxins, specific drugs, genetics and infections. The primary cause of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is genetics, though it can develop over a lifetime due to aging or hypertension. The least common type is restrictive cardiomyopathy. Researchers suspect it’s caused by connective tissue disorders, too much iron in the body or certain cancer treatments, though some cases have no known cause.
For more information on the causes of heart disease, risk factors and treatment options, schedule a visit to our Arizona cardiovascular treatment center.