Your blood vessels and heart are both impacted by cardiovascular disorders (CVDs). At least one type of heart disease affects over half of Australian adults. You can alter your lifestyle, or your doctor can recommend taking medications to control cardiovascular disease. The earlier cardiovascular disease is discovered, the easier it is to treat.
What exactly is cardiovascular disease?
A set of diseases that affect your heart and blood vessels are referred to as cardiovascular diseases. These diseases may impact one or more parts of your heart and blood vessels. A person may exhibit symptoms of the disease (symptomatic) or not (asymptomatic).
Cardiovascular disease includes abnormalities in the heart or blood vessels, such as:
- Narrowing the blood arteries in your body, whether in your heart, other organs, or anywhere else.
- Congenital disabilities affect the heart and blood vessels.
- Improper functioning of heart valves.
- Abnormal heartbeats.
What are the risk factors for cardiovascular disease?
If you have risk factors like these, you could be more prone to developing cardiovascular disease:
- Elevated blood pressure (hypertension).
- High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia).
- Nicotine use (including vaping).
- Diabetes type 2.
- Heart disease in the family history
- Absence of exercise
- Being overweight or obese
- High-sodium, high-sugar, and high-fat diets.
- Excessive alcohol use
- Excessive alcohol use
- Misuse of illegal or prescription drugs.
- Pregnancy diabetes
- Chronic autoimmune or inflammatory diseases.
- Chronic kidney disease.
What symptoms of cardiovascular disease are there?
Symptoms of a heart condition
- Chest pain (angina).
- Chest pressure, heaviness, or discomfort is commonly characterised as a “belt around the chest” or a “weight on the chest.”
- Breathing difficulty (dyspnea).
- Fainting or dizziness
- Weariness or fatigue.
Symptoms of blood vessel blockages
- When you walk, your legs may hurt or cramp.
- Unhealing wounds on the legs.
- Your legs may have cool or red skin.
- Your legs are swollen.
- Numbness in a limb or your face. You might have this on one side of your body.
- Speaking, seeing, or walking difficulties.
What kinds of testing might I get for cardiovascular disease?
Typical examinations used to identify cardiovascular disease include:
- Blood tests evaluate cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and specific proteins that indicate cardiovascular health. A doctor can also use blood tests to look for problems with blood coagulation.
- To identify peripheral artery disease, the ankle-brachial index (ABI) analyses the blood pressure in your ankles and arms.
- Stress tests examine how your heart reacts to physical exertion in a safe environment while you exercise or take medications.
- Wearable gadgets are used in ambulatory monitoring to monitor your heart rate and rhythm.
- Sound waves are used in an echocardiogram to provide an image of your heartbeat and blood flow.
- The electrical activity of your heart is recorded by an electrocardiogram (EKG).
- X-rays and computer processing are used in cardiac computed tomography (CT) to produce 3D images of your heart and blood arteries.
- Sound waves are used in ultrasound to examine the blood flow in your neck or legs.
- Using magnets and radio waves, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) produces incredibly fine-grained images of your heart.
How can I avoid cardiovascular disease?
Some forms of cardiovascular disease, such as congenital heart disease, cannot be prevented. However, making lifestyle modifications can lower your risk of numerous cardiovascular diseases.
You can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by:
- Avoiding all forms of tobacco
- Eating a diet low in salt and saturated fat.
- Taking care of other medical issues, including type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
- Exercising for 30 to 60 minutes a day, on average.
- Lowering and controlling stress.
- Achieving and keeping a healthy weight.
When should I schedule a visit with my doctor?
When cardiovascular disease is discovered early, it is frequently easier to treat — for this reason, visiting your primary care physician once a year is crucial. They can identify cardiovascular problems before symptoms appear. If you notice any symptoms of cardiovascular disease, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Get immediate medical help if you suffer from any of the following:
- Discomfort or pain in the chest
- Your arms or legs may be in pain or numb.
- Severe difficulty breathing, especially if it’s new or getting worse
- Fainting (syncope)
- Backache or discomfort.
A Note from the Heartscope Specialist Group
Heart problems can cause heart attacks or strokes if not adequately treated. To manage cardiovascular disease, you can alter your lifestyle or seek an effective treatment from which you can benefit from an earlier diagnosis. Heartscope provides procedures that can help you manage cardiovascular diseases. Just make sure that you are keeping your general practitioner up-to-date. On the bright side, many people with cardiovascular disease lead active, fulfilling lives.