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Cardiovascular Disease, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 974

Essay

 Introduction

Along with other diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease or that which affects the human heart is one of the leading causes of premature death in the United States. It is also one of the most avoidable diseases, due to a number of factors related to behavior and lifestyle. But fortunately, cardiovascular disease continues to decline because of the availability of information from organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Symptoms of the disease

Although there are various medical conditions that cause cardiovascular disease, being a disease of the heart and the circulatory system in the human body, the most common symptoms include 1), chest pain in the area of the sternum and in the arms and neck; 2), shortness of breath; 3), pain and numbness in the legs and arms; 4), a feeling of fluttering in the area of the sternum; 5), a racing or slow heartbeat or pulse; 6), lightheadedness; and 7), dizziness. Other symptoms related to what is known as a myocardial infarction may include a barely perceptible pulse, low blood pressure, an elevated body temperature, and cardiac arrhythmia or an unsteady heart beat (Glanze 785).

Causes of cardiovascular disease

Generally, cardiovascular disease is cause by a number of factors, such as a poor diet, a lack of exercise, smoking, and in some cases, an inherited weakness of the heart and the circulatory system. Through a process known as atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease develops “when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries” which leads to a narrowing of the arteries, thus preventing blood from flowing properly. In some cases, cardiovascular disease occurs when “the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked by a blood clot” which prevents blood from flowing through the heart and into other parts of the body. In many instances, a blood clot destroys the heart muscles which causes the arteries (especially the aorta) to stop functioning properly (“What is Cardiovascular Disease?”).

Preventing cardiovascular disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease can be avoided by following some very basic common sense advice. First of all, eating a healthy diet with foods “low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber” can help to lower cholesterol in the blood which creates plaque and blood clots. One should also limit the intake of salt which helps to lower blood pressure. Second, maintaining a health weight decreases one’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Third, a regimen of exercise through physical activity helps to maintain a healthy weight while lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Fourth, the cessation of smoking cigarettes lowers the risk of developing a disease associated with the cardiovascular system. And fifth, limiting one’s intake of alcoholic beverages helps to lower blood pressure which if too high can result in hypertension (“Heart Disease”). In my opinion, the last prevention measure, being smoking cigarettes, is of the greatest importance, due to the fact that cigarettes not only negatively affect the heart but also other major body organs.

Cardiovascular disease and other body organs

The organ system that is most affected by cardiovascular disease is the circulatory system, composed of the heart, aorta, arteries, veins, and capillaries. These parts of the circulatory system can be found in all areas of the human body, such as the head, arms, legs, torso, and feet. Thus, when the heart is affected by a cardiovascular disorder, the rest of the circulatory system is adversely affected which can lead to other complications like stroke, blood clots, and varicose veins (“Disease and Condition: Heart Disease”).

Treatment options

For most people with some form of cardiovascular disease, treatment is somewhat limited except in extreme cases where open heart surgery is required in order to repair damaged heart valves and arteries in the heart. But most of the time, one can take medications that help lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries and veins. These type of medications work relatively well but are dependent upon how far the disease has progressed and the age of the person (“Heart Disease”).

According to Eugene Braunwald, there are a number of treatment options for cardiovascular disease that are dependent on how far the disease has progressed. The most common option for most people is called coronary angioplasty, a type of surgery in which a balloon is inserted into a blocked artery or vessel and then inflated which helps to remove the buildup of plaque. In some surgeries, after the blockage is removed, the surgeon inserts a stent or a type of tube that serves to keep the vessel open so that blood will flow properly (Essential Atlas of Heart Disease 324).

Education on cardiovascular disease

In my opinion, the best way to help keep people informed and knowledgeable on cardiovascular disease is to create some type of national educational program through the U.S. federal government and state-based governments. Today, there are programs that are supported by the federal government and private organizations like the American Heart Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

But I believe that these types of programs should be centered at the local level, such as in cities and towns and especially in rural areas where people might not have access to adequate medical health care and information. Therefore, the best way to educate people and the general public (especially older people and smokers) is to spread information on heart disease so that they can live better and healthier lives and of course live longer.

Works Cited

Braunwald, Eugene. Essential Atlas of Heart Disease. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2001. Print. Disease and Condition: Heart Disease. 2014. Web. 24 August, 2014.

Glanze, Walter D., Ed. Mosby’s Medical, Nursing, and Allied Health Dictionary. St. Louis, MO: C.V. Mosby Company, 1990. Print. Heart Disease. 2014. Web. 24 August, 2014.

What Is Cardiovascular Disease? 2014. Web. 24 August, 2014.

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