Health and Fitness

Common Cardiac Conditions

Common Cardiac Conditions

Were you aware that 6 in 10 people in the United States live with at least one chronic condition? Even worse, about 40% have two or more of these persistent or life-long health problems.

Cardiac conditions, or heart diseases, are among the most common chronic diseases. Also referred to as cardiovascular or heart diseases, they kill 1 to 2 people in the U.S. every minute.

To that end, we created this guide on the most common cardiac issues. Read on to learn what they are and ways to prevent heart disease.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

CAD, the most common heart condition in the U.S., restricts blood flow to the heart. It results from plaque buildup in the coronary arterial walls.

Plaque, in turn, consists of cholesterol deposits. Over time, all that buildup narrows the opening of the arteries. This narrowing of the arteries is what doctors call atherosclerosis.

Once there’s too much plaque inside the arteries, angina (chest pain) can occur. This is often the first and most common CAD symptom.

Angina isn’t always life-threatening, but it’s a sign of an increased risk of a heart attack.

Since CAD is primarily due to cholesterol, reducing its intake is one of the best ways to prevent it. For example, you should limit saturated fats, often found in animal fats. Another is to cut back on trans fat, an unhealthy fat in deep-fried, packaged, and processed foods.

Other risk factors for developing CAD include obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Therefore, managing these conditions can help lower CAD risk.

Smoking tobacco and excessive alcohol intake can also increase one’s risk for CAD. So if you smoke, consider quitting now. If you drink, do so in moderation (no more than one drink a day for women or two for men).

Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)

A heart attack happens when a section of a heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood. The longer this occurs, the greater the damage sustained by the heart muscle.

Heart attacks often result from CAD since this condition blocks blood flow. That restriction can then cut the blood supply to the heart muscles.

Since CAD is the top cause of heart attacks, preventing it can lower your risks for both heart conditions.

Heart Failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood throughout the body. As a result, the body’s cells don’t get adequate nutrition, so they can’t function as they should. This leads to fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, and difficulty doing easy tasks.

Although it’s more common in older adults, heart failure in young people can also happen. This is especially true if they have a heart defect present at birth (congenital).

However, heart failure can also occur due to CAD in young and adult individuals. Likewise, the same risk factors for CAD make people more likely to develop heart failure. Thus, preventing or treating these conditions can also help keep heart failure at bay.

Live Healthily to Prevent Cardiac Conditions

Remember: Cardiac conditions shorten people’s lives by many years. For example, on average, a heart attack results in 16 years of lost life, while it’s about ten years for heart failure.

That’s enough reason to keep your heart healthy. Start by adding healthy eating and regular exercise to your daily regimen. Drinking alcohol in moderation and quitting smoking can also help.

For more informative reads like this, check out our other blog posts!

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