Heart Disease Overview
Your heart health is a critical issue because the heart is like the engine of your body. If it’s not running, neither is anything else.
Heart disease refers to many different disorders of the heart, including, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis (plaque buildup), coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and others.
Every disease that affects the heart is grouped into this category, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and many other countries today.
It doesn’t just affect men, either. Women die from heart disease more often than any other disease or circumstance, as well. People who are overweight will be more likely to have heart problems, as will those who have poor nutrition or consume excessive amounts of fats and cholesterol.
However, even the healthiest people can have congenital or genetic heart disease, so no one is really immune.
You can do things to protect yourself from heart disease, coronary artery disease, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke, of course. Eating right, exercising, and making sure that your body gets a good balance of nutrients will help make sure that you have a healthy, happy heart for as long as possible.
Coronary Artery Disease and Types of Cardiovascular Disease
Think of your heart as a living pump. Instead of pumping water, fuel, or other materials, it pumps blood to your body. The blood flows from your heart to the body, where the oxygen is taken from the blood to help things function.
Then, the blood goes back to your heart to be re-oxygenated and used again. A healthy heart pumps blood through the body efficiently, stopping by the lungs to eliminate excess carbon dioxide and pick up fresh oxygen.
The cycle then continues, with the heart pumping out blood to the rest of the body through the arteries and returning it through the veins.
The human heart contracts and expands an average of 100,000 times per day. It supplies more than 10,000 liters of blood to the body every single day, and carries that blood to over 96,000 km of blood vessels.
The constant stress on the heart is what makes it so vulnerable to various diseases and damage throughout your life. When the heart is not healthy, a myriad of conditions can develop.
Heart disease refers to any condition that causes the heart to function abnormally. Some diseases are congenital, meaning that they are present at birth. Some develop over time due to genetics, while others are caused by nutrition or degenerative (age-related) conditions.
There are also some diagnoses of heart disease that are related to medical issues. Typically, conditions will develop in the heart itself or in the surrounding valves and arteries.
Among most heart disease sufferers, plaque buildup and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) is the most common issue. Other forms of heart disease include the following:
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- Cardiovascular disease: any disease that involves the cardiovascular system.
- Coronary artery disease: illness that affects the coronary arteries, which are directly in contact with the heart. This condition is typically caused by atherosclerosis and can cause heart attack, angina, and other issues.
- Cardiomyopathy: diseases of the heart muscle specifically. These illnesses include loss of heart muscle, enlarged heart, thickened muscle walls, and other conditions that directly affect the heart instead of its system of vessels.
- Pericardial disease: a disease involving the pericardium, or the sac that holds the heart. Usually, it is either in the form of stiffness or fluid retention, or both.
- Congenital heart disease: refers to any heart deformity or condition that develops before birth and affects the overall performance and formation of the muscle. Even some congenital defects are not discovered until much later on.
- Heart failure: this is a condition where the heart cannot properly pump blood to the body as needed. Organs don’t get the oxygen that they need, which can lead to fluid buildup, fatigue, and shortness of breath. This doesn’t refer to the heart stopping.
- Atherosclerosis: a hardening of the arteries caused by plaque buildup over time. The buildup also causes high blood pressure because the heart has to pump harder since arteries are narrower, which in turn causes more severe hardening over time.
- Hypertension: this is simply high blood pressure, and it affects 1 in 4 people. Of course, people need to be aware that high blood pressure, in and of itself, is not a disease. It is a symptom of another condition, such as narrowing of the arteries, underlying stress, or another medical condition.
- Stroke: this is a sudden brain function loss that is caused by hemorrhage in the brain or the detachment of a blood clot that travels to the brain and interrupts the flow of operations.
- Aneurysm: a weakness in blood vessel that grows over time, causing a potential for rupture, terminal bleeding, and death. This can occur in any location throughout the body, not just the brain, heart or abdomen like many people think.
- Embolism: A blockage in the arteries caused by a blood clot or air pocket. This can occur in the arteries (arterial embolism) or in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) and can be fatal.
- Vasculitis: inflammation of the blood vessels that can impair blood flow.
- Varicose Veins: this condition is when veins get twisted and swell, finding their way to the surface and causing a very unpleasant appearance. Severe cases can cause pain and discomfort, as well.
Heart Disease Statistics
- Heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women worldwide.
- 30% or more of the total deaths in the world each year are caused by some form of heart disease.
- There are over 1.5 million heart attacks in the U.S. alone each year.
- In the UK, one adult dies every 3 minutes as a result of heart disease.
- Cardiovascular disease has proven itself to be a disease of Western civilization, as developing countries and eastern civilizations don’t have as many deaths or diagnoses related to heart health.
- Every 34 seconds, someone in the U.S. dies from heart disease.
- In the U.S., someone suffers heart-related events every 20 seconds.
Some Other Causes of Heart Disease
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- Diabetes: While there isn’t much known about the link between diabetes and heart disease, it is known that about 65% of the people who die from diabetes do so due to a heart disease of some kind.
- Obesity: In addition to creating many different health issues for your body, obesity also increases the likelihood that you will face heart disease. Obesity increases the risk of all types of health problems and is a leading cause of many degenerative conditions today.
- Smoking: In the U.S. alone, smoking accounts for 400,000 deaths annually simply because of the strain on the heart and cardiovascular system. In the rest of the world, the statistics are just as alarming.
- Inflammation: Inflammation in the heart and blood vessels can lead to serious health issues. In some studies, it has even been shown to be more dangerous than high cholesterol, which is quite scary because it is really a simple symptom in and of itself.
- Stress: Today’s busy lifestyles don’t leave a lot of time for relaxation. Stress is the number one cause of heart disease in many countries and often the reason that people die from heart-related illnesses or events. Prolonged stress makes treatment and relief nearly impossible with a heart condition, which is very dangerous.
- Genetics: Some people just have it in their genes to develop heart disease. If this is the case, there is nothing that anyone can do because you can’t change your genetics.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Not getting enough exercise or moving around can cause the body to be completely unhealthy. However, when you don’t exercise the heart, it will become weak and cause you a lot of issues.
- Nutritional deficiency: Eating right and getting the right nutrients is critical to your heart and the rest of your health. You can prevent the onset of heart disease and often avoid many of the common issues of heart health just by eating right and making sure that your body gets the proper nutrition.
The increased stress of today’s demanding lifestyle is definitely a contributor to the increase in the incidence of heart disease
in developed countries. High blood pressure, smoking, eating too much fat or cholesterol, lack of nutrients and antioxidants, pollutants and environmental factors, stress, and a lack of exercise will all contribute to poor heart health
. People who have more risk factors for coronary artery disease
will be more likely to be affected, but even the healthiest people aren’t safe because many facets of this disease are genetic as well.
Free radicals also help to encourage the development of heart disease by attacking the arteries and veins in the body and destroying them. Iron is implicated in the development of some cardiovascular disease, and can increase risk by up to 38% when it is taken in from certain meats. Another element is cholesterol, which if too high can lead to serious plaque buildup and blockage of the arteries, causing heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.back to top
Heart Disease Symptoms
Many symptoms of heart conditions are not noticeable until they reach a dangerous point.
There are certain heart disease symptoms that might be more obvious than others, but usually the signs are not noticed until it is past a point of repair and simply a matter of trying to recover from the loss and prevent future damage or at least prolong the situation.
Some heart disease symptoms that are more obvious will include:
- Chest pain: Also known as angina, chest pain is a sign of heart problems. However, a pulled muscle or strain can also produce chest pain, which can sometimes confuse people. That is why other symptoms need to be considered, as well. Usually, heart-related chest pain will occur under the sternum, where it will feel like the chest is being squeezed. Pain can move out to the shoulders, arms, neck, and even down to the hands, and will typically be relieved with rest. Chest pain is also a symptom of anxiety, so it is important to know what you are looking for.
- Women, in some cases, will experience swelling, dizziness, shortness of breath, and chronic fatigue in addition to their chest pain.
- Shortness of breath: Although there are many causes of shortness of breath, the relation to heart conditions or diseases is very close. The lack of blood and oxygen creates a lack of breathing abilities and can be a sign of congestive heart failure or a heart attack if combined with other symptoms.
Symptoms of a heart attack include: acute chest pain, sweating, dizziness, nausea, confusion, pain in the arm or jaw, shortness of breath, and related symptoms. Some people will not experience all of these symptoms and others will have different symptoms completely.
Stroke symptoms are similar but more cognitive, including vision changes, weakness in the face, arms or legs, sudden headache, speech or hearing changes, dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, and nausea. Typically, the pain or weakness will be in one side of the body more than the other.
Heart failure symptoms are also similar to heart attack or heart disease symptoms, and include things like fatigue, persistent coughing, shortness of breath, and swelling in the legs, feet, or abdomen.
Because people don’t have all of these symptoms at the same time in most cases, they can go unnoticed for many years as the heart continues to weaken and become more worn out.
Eventually, a major event like a stroke or heart attack will occur, and often it is too late to take corrective action at that point. All that can be done is to recover from the damage and make the best of what’s left for most people.back to top
Most patients will not receive a diagnosis of heart disease until an actual event occurs. The symptoms of heart disease are so relatable to other events and misdiagnosed that unless a heart attack, stroke, or angina occurs people often go undiagnosed for years.
If symptoms are able to be realized before they get to this point, ECG tests can be performed to confirm the exact diagnosis, as can radioisotopes and echocardiography.
Surgical exploration is a great diagnostic tool as well, but is usually only used before heart surgery because of the invasiveness of the procedure.back to top
Finding the best treatment solution is never easy, but in the case of most heart conditions people are probably fortune to be around so that they can choose between treatment options. It is at this point that people are much more likely to have a subsequent event, so treatment should be carefully considered.
The best option, of course, is to choose natural supplements and support to maintain health and avoid coronary events altogether.
This is usually easier said than done, but it can allow people to get the support that they need and restore their optimal level of health to prevent the disease in the first place or recover quicker and with fewer adverse effects after a major coronary event.back to top
Conventional treatment starts with lifestyle changes. While doctors regularly perform surgeries and prescribe medications, they also focus on changing the lifestyle to avoid future heart events and conditions for people who have been diagnosed.
There are many different medications out there that can be prescribed for heart disease and events, including Aspirin, ACE medications, Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers, Nitrates, Antiplatlets, Beta Blockers, oral anticoagulants, calcium channel blockers, salicylates, diuretics, cholesterol medications, clot destroying medications, and Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors.
All of these medications carry serious side effects and can have more problems than they might be worth for some patients. However, for others they are the only option for treatment and therefore a viable option to consider.
It is going to be up to each patient to discuss all of the different medications with their healthcare provider and make sure that they get a regimen that will help keep their heart healthy and improve their condition over time.
In addition to medication, surgeries can be performed to open up arteries, remove plaque buildup, replace collapsed blood vessels and repair the heart.
Bypass operations, open heart surgery, and other procedures have proven quite effective for helping improve heart health, but they are designed specifically for serious cases that have no other alternatives available.back to top
Conventional drugs can suppress symptoms and defend against another heart event. Natural remedies are much more effective at reversing the cause of heart disease and preventing the disease in the first place.
Dietary supplements are unique because they are natural substances that the body needs to be healthy, and might not be present enough in the body to help stave off disease.
With the right supplements, you can improve your heart health as well as your overall health by ensuring that your body gets enough vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
All of the areas related to heart health can be easily maintained and restored with the right supplement products.
People who are having a heart attack or serious heart condition need to seek medical attention immediately. Supplements can aid in total heart health and recovery after an event, but they are not a replacement for medical intervention when it is needed.
These supplements are also not a ‘cure’ for any disease or condition, and merely work to promote better health throughout the body in various systems and on an overall basis.back to top
At Maxalife, our goal is to help you live the healthiest life possible, and we do that by providing you with the best supplements for your various health needs. For heart health supplements, you can rely on great Maxalife products like:
All of these products are designed to deliver the nutrients that your body needs. Resveratrol is the ingredient found in red wine that helps promote heart health, while Co Q10 is a great supplement that your body needs to keep the heart healthy.
Our multi-vitamin formulas specifically designed for men’s and women’s health will offer you all of the benefits that you need for your overall health and wellbeing, including heart health benefits.
Try Maxalife products today to help your heart and arteries and see what these products can do for you.back to top