Heart disease refers to the disorders of the heart that is caused due to infections to genetic defects and blood vessel disease. As compared to cardiovascular disease that describes problems related to blood vessels in the heart and circulatory system, heart disease refers to conditions and deformities in the heart itself.

Heart Disease vs. Cardiovascular disease

Heart disease is commonly misunderstood with cardiovascular disease, but both are different in a way. Cardiovascular disease generally involves medical conditions of narrow or blocked blood vessels that can further cause heart attack, chest pain(angina), or stroke. Whereas heart conditions, such as inflammation in heart muscles, valves in the heart, or rhythm of the heartbeat, comes under heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is a problem related to blood vessels in the heart and circulatory system. But heart disease has to do with issues and deformities only related to the heart itself.

Even though heart disease is considered the number one health threat in the world, it can be prevented easily with a healthy lifestyle.

Heart Disease Statistics

Heart disease has caused most deaths for both men and women of all races in the entire world. In the year 2016, 28.8 million U.S citizens went for heart disease diagnosis, and in 2015, around 634,000 people died due to heart disease, which makes it the leading cause of death.

The American Heart Association states with every 40 seconds an American will have a heart attack and estimated the annual incidence of the heart attack in the United States to be 720,000 new attacks and 335,000 recurrent attacks. It is also expected that approx 14% of the people who suffered from a heart attack will die from it.

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease that accounts for 1 in 7 deaths in the U.S, causing 366,800 deaths in a year. In the year 2015, death rates due to heart disease were highest among black males for 258.6 deaths per 100,000 U.S citizens as compared to 211.2 deaths per 100,000 for white males. Whereas in the case of women, 165.7 per 100,000 and 132.4 per 100,000 for white women.

In the year 2015, the annual costs of cardiovascular disease in the U.S were estimated to be $351.2 billion, which includes $213.8 billion in direct cost and 46% for inpatient care. In 2019, coronary disease was expected to be to occur. 

The counting has not been stopped, and in 2019, coronary events are estimated to occur about 1,055,000 individuals that include 720,000 new and 335,000 recurrent coronary events.

It has been noticed that by five years after experiencing a heart attack, almost half of the women either die or develop heart failure. The reason behind this maybe they must have misdiagnosed by the doctor, or they couldn’t get the symptoms of the heart attack signs, such as:-

  • Chest pain
  • Pain in the upper body or feeling of discomfort in the arms, back, neck, upper stomach, or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats

In the southeast region of the United States, people usually have a diet rich in saturated fats and salty foods, causing high obesity rates that lead to the highest cardiovascular death rate in the United States.

Mississippi is the state located in the southern region of the United States and is considered as the highest rate of death from heart disease-causing 233.1 deaths per 100,000 people of the United States.

Below are the states that are considered as deadliest because of heart disease:-

  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Tennessee
  • Missouri

Heart Disease Types

Heart disease is of various types that affect different parts of the and can happen in different ways:-

Congenital heart disease: It is a general term used to determine some deformities of the heart that have been present from the time of birth. For example:-

  • Septal defects: It is a medical condition in which a hole is present between the two chambers of the heart.
  • Obstruction defects: In this condition, the flow of the blood through various chambers of the heart gets blocked partially or completely.
  • Cyanotic heart disease: Any defect in the heart results in a shortage of oxygen in the body, causing harm.

Arrhythmia: Arrhythmia is one of a heart disease that causes irregular heartbeat. Several ways can result in irregular heartbeats, such as:-

  • Tachycardia, a condition in which the heart beats too fast.
  • Bradycardia, heart disease in which heartbeat gets slow
  • Premature ventricular contractions
  • A condition of irregular heartbeat known as fibrillation

It is a condition in which the electrical impulses cannot coordinate properly, making the heartbeat in a way it should not. Irregular heartbeat is common to everyone, but when this happens frequently, they may damage or can weaken your heart. Therefore it should be taken more seriously into consideration.

Coronary artery disease: The function of the coronary artery is to regulate nutrients and oxygen through circulating blood. In some cases, coronary arteries get damaged, injured, or sometimes plaques get deposited containing cholesterol. The deposited plaques narrow the coronary arteries causing the heart to receive less oxygen and nutrients.

Dilated cardiomyopathy: It is a condition in which the heart muscles become weak and dilated, which results in inadequate pumping of blood. This happens because of the lack of oxygenated blood to the heart muscles that result in narrowing the coronary arteries.

Dilated cardiomyopathy: The heart muscles become weak, causing the heart chamber to become enlarged. As a result, it becomes difficult for the heart to pump blood properly. 

Due to the lack of oxygen to the heart muscles, it happens and may further lead to coronary artery disease. Dilated cardiomyopathy usually affects the left ventricle.

Myocardial infarction: It is also known as cardiac infarction, heart attack, and coronary thrombosis. Myocardial infarction is usually caused by the blood clot that interrupts blood flow and damages parts of the heart muscles. This condition can also be caused if an artery suddenly narrows or spasms.

Heart failure: It is a medical condition in which the heart does not pump with optimum efficiency affecting the left or right side of the heart. 

Leaving coronary artery disease or hypertension untreated for an extended time period can leave the heart too stiff or weak. It is also known as congestive heart failure. 

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: It is a medical condition in which the walls of the left ventricle thickens that creates difficulty for the heart to pump blood out of the heart. 

It is a genetic disorder that may cause sudden death in athletes. If your parent is suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, it is almost a 50% chance that you might also develop the same.

Mitral regurgitation: It is a type of heart disease in which a mitral valve present in the heart becomes loose, allowing the blood to flow back into the heart instead of leaving. As a result, the blood does not move through the heart to the body. 

It is also known as mitral valve regurgitation, mitral insufficiency, or mitral incompetence. People suffering from this heart disease usually feel tired and out of breath.

Mitral valve prolapse: In this condition, the valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle closes partially. In general, these conditions are not fatal and usually do not require any medical treatment. But a person might need medical treatment if he has mitral regurgitation as well.

Pulmonary stenosis: A heart disease in which the pulmonary valve becomes too tight, causing difficulty to the heart in pumping blood from the right ventricle into the pulmonary artery, is known as Pulmonary stenosis. 

In such a case, it becomes difficult for the right ventricle to overcome the obstruction. If an infant having severe stenosis may turn blue, but older children do not show any symptoms.

Medical attention is required if the pressure in the right ventricle of the heart becomes too high. The doctor may suggest you undergo a balloon valvuloplasty or an open-heart surgery to clear the obstruction(s).

What Are The Things That Triggers Heart Disease?

Please note it is not essential to have all the factors; only one of them is enough to trigger heart disease symptoms. It was reported that half of all the adults suffering from heart disease had at least one risk factor in them, such as:-

  • High Blood Pressure: Hypertension is considered the major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • High Cholesterol: People with high cholesterol levels have doubled the chance of developing heart disease as compared to people having healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Diabetes: Diabetic patients have 2 to 4 times more risk of developing heart disease as compared to people who are free from diabetes.
  • Depression: Depression may also lead to coronary artery disease; people with a depressive disorder or symptoms of depression are at a 64% higher risk of developing heart disease.
  • Obesity: Overweight people or people having obesity may develop several risk factors that trigger the symptoms of heart disease, such as cardiovascular diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

Apart from these medical conditions some behavior and habits can put in the risk of developing heart disease, such as:-

  • Poor diet: A diet rich in fat, salt, sugar, and cholesterol may cause you heart disease.
  • Lack of physical exercise: A Cleveland Clinic reports that regular exercise is important for both people suffering from heart disease and people without heart disease.
  • Alcohol consumption: Researchers have reported that people consuming an excess of alcohol are at high risk of developing heart attack and congestive heart failure.

Also Read: What Is Congenital Heart Disease(CHD)?

Heart Disease Treatment

Medical science has two different ways to cure heart disease. At first, the doctor will diagnose you and try to treat the condition with the help of medication. If the medicines fail to cure the disease or may not show the desired effects, the doctor will go for surgery to help you.

Heart Disease Medications: There are various medicines available to deal with heart disease that is used according to the conditions. Every drug has its specifications to treat the type of heart disease, such as some are prepared to prevent blood clots, and some have other reasons and ways to deal with the disease.

In general, here is a list of medicines that are used to treat heart disease:-

  • Statins: To lower the cholesterol level
  • Warfarin: Used as a blood thinner to prevent blood clot
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme(ACE) inhibitors to cure heart failure and heart blood pressure.

Your doctor will coordinate with you so that he can prescribe the best possible medicines to cure your disease. They may also suggest medicines to treat underlying conditions that affect the heart, such as diabetes, before they become problematic.

Heart Surgery: Heart surgery is an in-depth surgery and usually takes a long time to recover. But it is effective in treating blockage and heart problems for situations in which medications may not be that effective in the advanced stage of heart disease.

Some of the most common surgeries are as follows:-

  • Angioplasty: It is a surgery in which a balloon catheter is inserted to widen the narrowed blood vessels which restrict blood flow to the heart.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: It is performed to clear the blocked arteries in the heart to allow blood to flow smoothly.
  • Some surgeries are performed to repair or replace a faulty heart valve.
  • In some situations, the patient needs to have some types of equipment, such as pacemakers or electronic machines, to regulate a heartbeat for people suffering from arrhythmia. 

In some cases, heart transplants are also an option, but it is challenging to find the proper heart that should match with body size and blood type in the required time. People usually wait for the suitable donor, which takes time, and sometimes it can take years.

How Should I Prevent Heart Diseases?

The basic concept behind heart disease prevention is to consider the risk factors in mind and work accordingly. Doing so can reduce heart disease by up to 80%.

Below is a list of preventive measures that will help you prevent heart diseases.

  • Do not consume alcohol more than one to two alcoholic drinks per day in case of men, and one drink daily for women. Ths alcohol consumption is determined as 12 ounces of beer(a bottle), 4 ounces of wine(one proper glass), and 1.5 ounces of spirits(a proper shot).
  • Consume a heart-healthy diet that has a low content of fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and sugar. Develop a habit of consuming fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids, and dark chocolate.
  • Perform regular exercise of duration 30 minutes a day for five days a week.
  • Limit your stress level. You can do that by spending time with people you love, medication, optimum sleep, and seeking counselling if needed.
  • Quit the habit of smoking
  • Go for a regular check-up and be in touch with your doctor to manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and weight.

How Much Does Heart Disease Cost?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) reports that in 2015 the principal hospital-discharge diagnosis for heart disease was 712,000, and 15.5 million people visited the doctor for heart disease-related conditions.

Heart disease is considered the second most expensive condition in hospitals in the United States by contributing $12.1 billion for heart attacks and $9 billion for coronary heart disease. 

The total costs for cardiovascular disease have been estimated to reach $1.1 trillion in the year 2035 that includes $748.7 billion as a direct cost and $368 billion as an indirect cost.

Heart disease and coronary heart disease are the two most expensive conditions treated in the United States.

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