Cardiovascular disease (CVD) : Risk Factors, Common symptom & Treatment

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels.  Cardiovascular disease includes:  Coronary artery disease (CAD), hypertensive heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmia, congenital heart disease, valvular heart disease, pancarditis (pericarditis, myocarditis, and endocarditis), aortic aneurysms, cerebrovascular accident (CVA), peripheral vascular disease (PVD), venous thrombosis, etc. 

Blood flow to the heart is reduced, as the result of a build-up of fatty deposits inside an artery that cause the artery to harden and narrow (atherosclerosis).  This obstruction along with other causes result in coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as ischemic heart disease (IHD).  CAD includes: STABLE ANGINA, UNSTABLE ANGINA, MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION (ALSO CALLED AS HEART ATTACK), AND SUDDEN CORONARY DEATH.  

  1. Age.
  2. High blood pressure.
  3. Smoking.
  4. Diabetes mellitus.
  5. Lack of exercise (sedentary lifestyle).
  6. Obesity (BMI > 30).
  7. Dyslipidemia (high LDL (bad cholesterol), high triglycerides, low HDL (good cholesterol).
  8. Poor diet.
  9. Excessive alcohol consumption.
  10. Depression.
  1. Chest pain or angina is the most common of coronary artery disease.  It is a sense of discomfort, heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing, or painful feeling in your chest.  It can be mistaken for indigestion or heartburn.  Angina may also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw, or back.  It is provoked by exertion and relieved by rest or nitroglycerin.   
  2. Shortness of breath.
  3. Palpitations (awareness of heartbeats or a "flip-flop" feeling in your chest).
  4. Faster heartbeats.
  5. Weakness or dizziness.
  6. Nausea.
  7. Sweating.
A number of tests may help with diagnoses including:
  1. Cardiac enzymes elevation.
  2. ECG or EKG (electrocardiogram).
  3. ECHO (echocardiogram)
  4. Cardiac stress testing (TMT).
  5. Coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA).
  6. Coronary angiogram (CAG).
DIET:  Eat an overall healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes:
  1. A variety of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Whole grains.
  3. Low-fat dairy products.
  4. Skinless poultry and fish and lean meat.
  5. Nuts and legumes.
  6. Nontropical vegetable oils.
Limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. 

OTHERS:  Multifactorial risk factor modification and control, especially interventions designed:
  1. To reduce bad cholesterol to < 100 mg/dL and increase good cholesterol to > 45 mg/dL.
  2. Reduce calories (limit the same to 1500 calories).
  3. Decrease systolic blood pressure to < 140 mmHg.
  4. Stop smoking.
  5. Reduce weight if overweight or obese (maintain BMI at 25).
  6. Control diabetes mellitus (FBS to < 100 and PPBS to < 140).
  7. Increase physical activity (150 to 180 min of activity / week).

Medications for diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure are used.  Additional medications such as antiplatelets including aspirin, angina drugs like beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, ranolazine, or nitroglycerin may be recommended. 


Procedures such as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) may be used in severe disease.


Aerobic exercise (also known as cardio) is physical exercise of low to high intensity.  Aerobic literally means "relating to, involving, or requiring free oxygen," and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise.  Examples of cardiovascular/aerobic exercise are medium to long distance running/jogging, swimming, cycling, and walking, etc.

Cardiomyopathy (literally "heart muscle disease") is the measurable deterioration for any reason of the ability of the myocardium (the heart muscle) to contract, usually leading to heart failure.

  1. Dyspnea (breathlessness) at rest or exertion.
  2. Peripheral edema (swelling of the legs).
  3. Irregular heart rate.
  4. Sudden cardiac death.
The most common form of cardiomyopathy is dilated cardiomyopathy. Although the term "cardiomyopathy" could theoretically apply to almost any disease affecting the heart, it is usually reserved for "severe myocardial disease leading to heart failure."

  1. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
  2. Right ventricular cardiomyopathy.
  3. Left ventricular cardiomyopathy.
  4. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
  5. Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM)
  6. Stress cardiomyopathy.
  7. Ischemic cardiomyopathy.
  8. Metabolic cardiomyopathy.
  9. Diabetes mellitus.
  10. Hyperthyroidism.
  11. Acromegaly.
  12. Obesity.
It is an inflammation of the inner tissues of the heart, the endocardium (such as the valves), usually by bacterial infections (staphylococcus and streptococcus) and sometimes by other organisms.

Normally, the white blood cells do not reach the valves due to less blood supply.  Hence bacteria get attached to the valves to form vegetations.   Blood, normally, flows smoothly through the heart valves.  If they have been damaged by bacteria — the risk of bacterial attachment is increased. 

High doses of IV antibiotics for extended periods of time are required for this disease. 

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