Cardiovascular disease (CLD) is a phrase used to describe all the diseases affecting the circulatory system and the heart. This includes stroke, and coronary heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is also known as circulatory and heart disease and it is one of the biggest causes of death in the US (Jousilahti & Tuomilehto, 1999). This paper seeks to analyze the disease, identify its etiology, the cause of the disease, its background, symptoms and methods of treatment and prevention. Finally, it will show the available options in prevention and treatment and identify some of the most effective interventions in countering the critical impacts of the disease. Additionally, it is also important to look into the epidemiology of the disease and find out what populations are most affected by the disease, and to finally find out the individuals at risk of conducting the disease.
Cardiovascular ailment is the leading cause of deaths in America. These diseases are diverse and they include stroke, heart attack, atherosclerosis, angina pectoris, high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. The risk factors and cause of all these diseases are interrelated, and, therefore, the causes of one cardiovascular disease are usually the cause of one or more cardiovascular diseases. There are numerous causes of cardiovascular disease, as there are different types of the disease. Atherosclerosis is one cause of cardiovascular disease. Arthrosclerosis is a term used to describe the building up in the arteries of plaque. The danger of developing plaques in arteries is that is can lead to blood clots and aneurysms. Clots, on the other hand, usually lead to heart attacks, thrombosis and stroke (Stanley, Shah, & Essop, 2009).
Another cause of cardiovascular disease is high levels of cholesterol in the circulatory system. As the levels of LDL cholesterol increase in the blood system, the risks of developing a cardiovascular disease increases. When other risk factors are combined with, high levels of cholesterol the risk, increases double fold. The levels of lipids in the body are influenced by numerous factors including sex, age, diet and heredity. Another source of heart illness is increased pressure in the circulatory system. High blood pressure usually adds to the work of the heart and can cause an increase in arterial damage, increasing the risks for developing atherosclerosis. High blood pressure is usually the number one risk factor for stroke. When high blood pressure exists among other risk factors like obesity, high levels of cholesterol in the body, smoking or diabetes, the chances of stroke or heart attack are increased by a number of times (Stobo, 1996).
Other significant causes of cardiovascular diseases include obesity, diabetes, and an inactive way of life. These are among the most commonly cardiovascular disease associated factors. The individuals who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop stroke or a heart ailment even without other risk factors involved. The weight itself is not usually the problem; rather, the excess pounds increase other risk factors. For instance, obesity usually affects cholesterol and blood pressure negatively, and in certain times usually leads to diabetes; and in many cases, the leading cause of overweight and obesity is leading a sedentary lifestyle (Stanley, Shah, & Essop, 2009).
Stress also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Surveys demonstrate that there is a close affiliation between stress and increased chances of developing certain cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease. The main reasoning behind this conclusion is that stress results to the discharge of certain elements that usually increases the speed at which the heart works and increases blood pressure. Stress also increases the risk of developing heart disease indirectly because most individuals experiencing stress usually resorts to increased smoking, eating and drinking when compared to those individuals without stress (Stanley, Shah, & Essop, 2009).
Despite the fact that heart diseases have recently increased, it is clear from literature that health problems involving the circulatory system and the heart are that new to the human race. Although the knowledge of the effects and causes of heart disease began to appear in the medical practice in the twentieth century, the history of cardiovascular disease dates back to ancient Egypt. Archeological findings made in early Egypt show that Egyptians at this period thought of the heart as the seat of human personality and wisdom. They imaged feeds coming from the heart and transporting its products- in which they described semen, saliva, blood, and other fluids, to the whole body (Maton, 1993)
Studies about the status of the health in England in the medieval times show that people at this period differed from minimal cholesterol diseases like heart disease. Individuals from Briton in the middle Ages had inconstant history of deaths related to the disease and instances of the diseases. The main reason for these includes healthier conditions of the heart of the English people from the period because of the consumption of natural food that was not overflowing with fats and carbohydrates. Research of the history of the heart disease indicates that the occurrence of heart disease and deaths related to heart disease was not common in the pre- industrial times, after the 19th century industrial revolution. The incidence of fatalities resulting from heart disease increased and more people were prone to deaths from heart diseases like heart attack (Jousilahti, & Tuomilehto, 1999).
Researchers and health professionals postulate that the more sedentary and relaxed lifestyles of the contemporary technological age is the cause for the observed change. Before the invention of complicated machines, most individuals used to make their living by doing numerous kinds of manual work, which consumed more deposits of lipids and fatty acids in the body. Furthermore, manual labor was a vigorous physical activity that increased and improved blood circulation in the body (Stobo, 1996).
Diet also has a critical role in the history of cardiovascular disease. While an average person’s diet in the pre-industrial time was composed of, a larger portion of natural foods like unprocessed milk products and whole grain, the invention and innovation of machines also started the trend of manufacture of rich foods. Processed milk products, burgers and French fries gained more popularity. The consumption of these foods has become a matter of social preference than personal choice. Besides, contributing to their popularity was the amount of time saved in preparing them. All these elements combined to make fat foods the key choice of the public. The outcome was increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease (Jousilahti, & Tuomilehto, 1999).
Cardiovascular disease does not describe only one condition. Rather, it is a term used to describe diseases and conditions affecting the blood vessels and heart. As it follows, there are more than 60 types of cardiovascular disease, ranging from the most common types like heart attack to the uncommon ones like Fallot and tetralogy. While some cardiovascular diseases are present after birth, most of them appear over the years. When describing the symptoms of cardiovascular disease, it is difficult to come with a list, as each condition can have numerous, different symptoms. There are many diseases affecting the heart. The most eminent disease is coronary heart illness. This disease claims more lives than any other heart disease in the US. If the disease affects the arteries that supply blood, there are some symptoms present. These include chest discomfort or pain, pain in the left shoulder, arms, neck, back or jaw, shortness of breath and dizziness. Other symptoms include faster and abnormal heartbeats, nausea, and malaise (Mackay et al., 2004).
Cardiovascular disease also affects the brain. Arteries in the brain are usually affected by two kinds of cardiovascular disease. This includes arterial embolism (blood clot is stuck in a tiny artery in the brain) and atherosclerosis. If any one of these two conditions affects the brain, one might experience similar symptoms like the ones experienced during stroke or during a transient ischemic attack. Some of these symptoms include sudden weakness or lack of sensation of the leg, face or arm especially on one side of the body, sudden trouble seeing with both or one eye. However the most common symptoms includes, sudden confusion, trouble understanding speech or speaking, sudden difficulty in walking, dizziness or loss of coordination or balance and sudden severe headache (Mackay et al., 2004).
Other parts affected by heart disease include the legs, arms and pelvis. If the arteries that take blood to the pelvis, legs or arms are affected by cardiovascular disease, one experience symptoms related to those of peripheral arterial disease. Some of these symptoms include numb or cold feeling in the toes or feet, especially at night, claudicating-or ache, pain, or cramp in the muscles. It occurs during exercise and feels better after resting. While these are just some of the common symptoms, there are others such as heart palpitations or skips in the heartbeat, sleepiness during day, and loss of consciousness (Mackay et al., 2004).
Disease Treatment and Prevention
There are different ways of preventing or reducing the risks of developing cardiovascular disease. One can stop smoking as a prevention strategy; many clinical professionals propose this as the most effective intervention. Studies indicate that the risk of developing heart attacks can be reduced by 50 percent if one stops smoking. The risk of stroke is reduced, and at times eliminated by quitting the habit. Research indicates that persons who smoke are at a high risk of suffering from heart illness unlike those who do not smoke. Having and practicing healthy eating habits is another way to prevent heart disease. This means eating foods that are low in salt, cholesterol and fat. This is integral to maintaining a healthy circulatory system and heart, thus helps significantly in reducing heart disease (Ignarro, Balestrieri & Napoli, 2007).
Physical activity and exercise are other measures of preventing heart diseases. Exercise does this by relieving stress, burning extra fat, strengthening the immune system and lowering blood pressure. Athletes have lower heart rates than most people do, because their heart muscles are stronger and better than other people are. Avoiding stressful situation also helps alleviate heart disease. Stress raises blood pressure adding extra work to the heart, thus, increasing the risk of developing heart disease. Treatment of heart disease usually involves medication and surgery. Bypass surgery, angiograms, in addition to, angioplasty are some of the common treatment options for patients of cardiovascular disease. In other cases, medication is usually enough (Ignarro, Balestrieri & Napoli, 2007).
Cardiovascular disease is the cause of deaths in the US. One in every five men and one in every 7 women suffer and die from the disease. The rate of deaths from cardiovascular disease has decreased by 45 percent for people below the age of 65 in the past ten years. This decrease is larger and faster in people aged 55 years and above. It is mostly because of decrease in major risk factors like smoking, and the enhancement of secondary prevention and treatment. The fall is not as significant as above in certain countries like Norway (54%) and Australia (48%). Fatality rates are highest in the north of England and Scotland and lowest in Southern England. For not less than 25 years, the rates have been consistently high in Scotland. Deaths from heart disease are more common in winter. Between 2004 and 2005, just fewer than seven thousand people died from the disease in Wales and England in July and June, compared to more than 9,000 in December and January (Coronary heart disease statistics, 2008).
The rationale behind this essay was to discuss the cardiovascular disease, highlighting its causes, prevention and treatment, background information and epidemiology. It was found that cardiovascular disease is the common origin of fatality in countries like the US, especially because of increase in consumption of processed foods and sedentary lifestyles. There were some preventive measures described like a healthy and active lifestyle, reduction of smoking and reduction of stress. There two options in treatment of heart disease, which are the use of medication and surgery. Though the disease is deadly, it is essential to note that it is also preventable, and that leading a healthy life might reduce one’s risk of the deadly disease.
1) Coronary heart disease statistics, (2008), Mortality: British Heart Foundation
This source indicated the seriousness of the disease by showing how many people are affected by the disease annually and how many fatalities result from the disease. It was found that the disease causes a lot of deaths and especially in the developed nations. The source was credible because it is from a well renowned association that has done a lot of work on heart diseases.
2.) Ignarro, J, Balestrieri, L. & Napoli, C. (2007). Nutrition, physical activity, and cardiovascular disease: cardiovascular research 73 (2): 326–40.
One of the most critical parts in the study of any kind of disease that is a threat to human life is ways to prevent the disease and treat it. This source did exactly that by providing its audience with information about different ways to prevent the disease and counter the chance of being at risk. In addition to this, the source provided credible information about the treatment cardiovascular disease. It included research and findings of the research that supported the conclusions included.
3) Jousilahti, V. & Tuomilehto, P. (1999), Sex, Age, Cardiovascular Risk Factors, and coronary heart disease: Circulation; 99: 1165-1172
This ciculation was exceedingly useful in providing general information about cardiovascular disease. The paper was well researched, supported with academic and credible sources, making it an excellent source for the paper’s abstract. It was found to be extremely useful as it talks of different aspects of the disease. This made it possible to retrieve essential information for the introductory part of the paper.
4) Mackay, et al. (2004), the Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke, World Health Organization
This is also among the most comprehensive material about symptoms and signs associated with heart disease. The source categorized each type of cardiovascular disease and the parts it affects, and then provided detailed information about the signs and symptoms associated with each.
5.) Maton, et al, (1993), Human Biology and Health, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall
The history of the disease is critical in the understanding of the cardiovascular disease. A search for informative sources information was conducted and this was found to include sufficient information about the ancient history of the disease. The work was well organized, with numerous sources that were current. It was chosen because it included the most detailed background information about the disease.
6.) Stanley, C., Shah, B. & Essop, M. (2009) Does Junk Food Lead to Heart Failure? Importance of Dietary Macronutrient Composition in Hypertension. American Heart Association 54: 1209-1210.
This is another reference that had a major role in doing this study, it provided the most critical information about the different causes of cardiovascular disease, stressing more on unhealthy eating habits and diets and lack of sufficient physical activity and exercise. Just as well, the article contained numerous sources, all of which seemed credible enough to base this part of the article. The findings of the included surveys were well documented and backed up with evidence indicating that the source is valid and credible.
7) Stobo D, Traill A, Hellmann B, Ladenson W, & Brent G, (1996).The Principles and Practice of Medicine 23 edition. McGraw-Hill Medical;
This book was useful in the analysis of the diseases etiology and symptoms and the realization that cardiovascular disease affects the brain because the Arteries in the brain are usually affected by arterial embolism and atherosclerosis. Renowned authors wrote the book and has been revised twenty three of times because of its reliability and authoritative analysis of diseases