Heart is the muscle which receives the blood from arteries through rhythmic movements. At the same time, it pumps the blood back into the vessels thus distributing substances to the tissues. According to WHO reports, in 2012 17.5 million people died from heart disease and atherosclerosis and it is estimated that the number may go up to 23 million by 2030.
Who is at risk?
Men are at a slightly bigger risk of developing heart disease since women are partly protected by estrogen, at least until they reach menopause. After menopause, they run the same risk of developing it. Smoking is considered to be responsible for about 10 % of all types of heart disease which puts smokers at three times the risk of heart attack. The good news is that it takes around 15 years until the health of an ex-smoker is restored to the state prior to using tobacco. Improper nutrition full of saturated fats and refined sugar, salt, obesity, diabetes, and physical inactivity lead to the failure of the cardiovascular system, and consequently – heart disease.
Precisely for this reason, expert stress the importance of prevention. Factors which lead to heart disease are absolutely preventable. As much as 80% of fatal outcomes caused by heart disease can be prevented through healthy lifestyle. However, the risk we can’t affect includes the changes on the cardiac muscle which comes as an inevitable consequence of aging. The family history of cardiovascular conditions is also something that can’t be altered.
The acute heart attack is the most frequent cause of death worldwide. It is characterized by the weakening of the cardiac muscle induced by an abrupt shortage of blood flow due to a blockage in of the two coronary arteries. The symptoms of this condition include sudden chest pain which may last for half an hour. The pain usually spreads to the left shoulder, felt in the arm or lower jaw and may be accompanied by profuse sweating, fatigue, or shortness of breath. Most patients who get heart attack die within the first two or three hours if not provided with urgent medical care. It is vital that they receive treatment as soon as possible. The treatment of this condition involves medications which break the blood clot responsible for the attack. The alternative to this treatment is the procedure involving the implementation of stents.
Anyone who survives a heart attack has to pay close attention to further treatment. The rehabilitation process usually takes place in a medical facility. Having survived heart attack, patients need to take medication for an indefinite amount of time – most frequently, for life. These drugs include beta blockers, AC inhibitors, and antiarrhythmics.
The risk of cardiovascular disease significantly decreases through avoiding harmful substances such as fats, refined sugar, and salt. Lean meats, poultry without skin, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Alcohol is good but only in moderation because it can decrease the bad cholesterol which consequently may lead to a heart disease. A glass of wine or beer a day is great for maintaining the health of the cardiovascular system.