Sunday, May 27, 2012

Heart Disease and Dietary Supplements - Discover the Best Nutrients to Enhance Heart Health

Many people are interested in learning more about heart disease and dietary supplements in order to educate themselves on preventive strategies against heart disease. However, before we delve into some of the best heart health supplements, let's highlight some important facts about this disease.

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease is the general term for diseases or conditions that affects the heart (cardio) or the blood vessels (vascular). As such, there are many different types of heart diseases. However, coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease.

Coronary artery disease means narrowing of the coronary arteries. It is caused by a process called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which is the gradual buildup of plague -- deposits made up of cholesterol, other fats, and calcium. Eventually, diminished blood flow can "starve" the heart muscle and lead to angina (chest pain). A complete blockage can cause a heart attack. In fact, coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. each year.

Moreover, many studies indicate that individuals with high cholesterol levels are much more likely to develop atherosclerosis than people that maintain low cholesterol levels. As such, many high cholesterol level sufferers seek information about heart disease and dietary supplements. In addition, it has been found that high levels of the amino acid homocysteine may be associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis.

Indeed, hearing words like heart disease, heart attack, and stroke is scary and, as such, many people search for information in regards to heart disease and dietary supplements to promote heart health. However, we believe before you can make an informed decision about health disease and dietary supplements, it's important to understand the risk factors associated with this condition, which is vital to your overall preventive strategies against heart disease. They include:

* High LDL "bad" cholesterol
* Low HDL "good" cholesterol
* Diabetes
* High blood pressure
* Tobacco
* Lack of exercise
* Unhealthy nutrition
* Overweight/Obesity
* Heavy alcohol intake
* Stress
* Family history
* Age
* Men

Needless to say, the first step in preventing or reducing your chances for heart disease is committing to a healthy lifestyle. In fact, aside from age, gender, and heredity, you have a great deal of power in controlling each of the aforementioned risk factors of heart disease.

With that being said, let's move on to heart disease and dietary supplements.

While it's important to understand that no dietary or herbal supplement will counteract a poor diet or the lack of exercise, it can be powerful components when used along with a heart healthy diet and a health enhancing lifestyle. Now, in regards to your heart health strategy and/or strategies against heart disease, you may want to address it having three main goals in mind and then use a combination of diet, exercise, and dietary and/or herbal supplements that works best for you. We believe that heart disease prevention must be addressed from several different perspectives since the disease results from a number of related "risk factors" and not from a single cause.

The three main goals for heart health are:

1. Opening Blood Vessels
2. Strengthening the Heart Muscle
3. Controlling Free Radical Damage -- Antioxidants


Supplements that Open Blood Vessels

Our research indicates that when it comes to heart disease and dietary supplements used for opening blood vessels, the following are some of the best and, as such, may be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Ginkgo biloba is well renowned for improving blood flow throughout the body, including the heart muscle. Ginkgo is also a powerhouse antioxidant and it appears to reduce blood stickiness, which lowers the risk of blood clots.

Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) that benefits heart health. Fish oil helps prevent platelets in the blood from clumping together, reducing the risk that blood clots will form. It has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower triglycerides (blood fats) levels, and improve blood flow. Indeed, fish oil omega 3's are praised by many experts as being one of the best heart disease and dietary supplements, meaning it should be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Policosanol -- Some studies have shown that policosanol can lower one's bad cholesterol (LDL) by up to 20% and raise beneficial cholesterol (HDL) by 10%.

Guggulipid is prized for its ability to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels as well as high blood triglyceride levels. It has also shown to boost the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

Vitamin B Complex, particularly vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid reduce levels of homocysteine.

Chromium is a mineral that plays a role in helping to manage cholesterol levels. In addition, it can help improve blood sugar control for diabetes sufferers.

Garlic is noted to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as slightly lower blood pressure. In addition, studies indicate that garlic can help reduce the likelihood of blood clots.

Other nutrients that help open blood vessels include: Niacin and Soy protein

Supplements that Strengthen the Heart Muscle

Our research indicates that when it comes to heart disease and dietary supplements to strengthen the heart muscle, the following are some of the best and, as such, may be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Magnesium -- This mineral plays a vital role in controlling muscle contraction and relaxation. It is also involved in regulating blood pressure (by relaxing blood vessels) and can help reduce the tendency of blood clotting.

Coenzyme Q10 is prized for its ability to strengthen the heart muscle and help prevent heart attacks and heart disease.

Hawthorn is a powerful heart tonic. It also strengthens the hearts pumping ability (muscle), helping the heart to beat more forcefully and efficiently.

Other possible heart muscle strengtheners include: L- Carnitine and Potassium

About Heart Disease and Dietary Supplements: Antioxidants

Antioxidants are believed to help prevent heart disease by fighting free radicals, substances that harm the body when left unchecked. These nutrients are on a constant search and destroy mission, fighting the continuous onslaught of free radicals. The following dietary supplements help fight free radicals and, as such, should be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Grape Seed Extract is a rich source of flavonoid compounds (oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs) that perform as potent antioxidants and powerful blood vessel strengtheners.

Green tea contains a particular group of potent antioxidants called polyphenols. Green tea also protects LDL cholesterol and blood vessel linings from oxidative damage.

Some other antioxidants noted to help with cardiovascular heart health include: Vitamins C and E, and Resveratrol

Precautions

Indeed, educating yourself about heart disease and dietary supplements is important. However, before you start any dietary supplement program for heart disease prevention or treatment, please make sure you discuss it with your physician.

Nutritional-Supplement-Educational-Centre's Opinion

We believe that you should consider, if possible, taking a comprehensive health heart product formulated by someone that is qualified to create such a supplement. Here are a few reasons why...

1. It could be very dangerous to your health to mix and match supplements and nutrients on your own.
2. A formulated heart health product using carefully selected ingredients can enhance their therapeutic benefits, often much better than taking a single herb or nutrient on its own.
3. Ratios of nutrients have to be balanced perfectly in order for it to be optimally effective.


Bottom Line:

Although we have provided you with some of the best heart health supplements, there are highly sophisticated Nutraceutical companies that have designed comprehensive heart health products from lowering cholesterol levels to promoting artery and heart health. Therefore, it's important to understand the how and why of what makes these comprehensive products useful -- an important factor in making an informed choice about heart disease and dietary supplements.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Turn Back Time: Reversing Heart Disease

Reversing heart disease can be done by adopting a few lifestyle changes. By avoiding certain risk factors that put you in harm's way of the disease to begin with, you can turn back the clock, so to speak, and continue to live a long, healthy life despite having a heart disease.

There are many different kinds of heart disease, but one of the factors that leads to most heart disease is a blockage to the arteries that feed blood to the heart. When the heart no longer gets a fresh supply of blood, it can die, and the result is a heart attack. By unclogging these arteries, you are essentially reversing heart disease and, therefore, healing your heart.

How You Can Reverse Heart Disease

Diets high in saturated fats and cholesterol can contribute to the blockage that causes most diseases of the heart. Reversing heart disease can be as simple as cleaning up your diet, by eating more fruits and vegetables, foods with a higher fiber content, and staying away from foods with too much saturated fat. By changing to a cleaner diet, you are one step closer to reversing a heart disease that has already claimed so many lives.

Another technique that works in reversing heart disease is getting more exercise. When you exercise, you increase your cardiovascular health, and your heart begins to work better. Exercise can be had anywhere, anytime, simply walk instead of drive your car, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or just walk around the block every night after dinner.

A more drastic move for reversing heart disease is surgery. Surgeons have been able to unblock arteries or bypass clogged arteries to improve blood flow to the heart. In many cases, surgery helps those who are afflicted with this horrible disease; however, for surgery to be effective, the heart disease must be caught early, just like most other diseases. Surgery can be an effective means for reversing heart disease, but the most effective way is to adopt good living habits once you find out you have it.

By adopting good living habits, eating right, getting more exercise, and reducing stress levels, you can go on to live a long, healthy, productive life even if you already have heart disease. Reversing heart disease does not need to inhibit your life or hold you back in any way; instead, by adopting good living habits, you can improve your life by turning back time to look and feel better.

Some Ways That Obesity And Heart Disease Are Related

Many medical professionals believed that obesity and heart disease were only related in an indirect sense. They attributed the major risk factors for heart disease (such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and even arteriosclerosis) to the degree of the obesity of the person involved. While obesity is a contributing factor for many of these conditions, studies are now indicating a more direct link between obesity and heart disease.

A More Direct Link?

Recent longitudinal studies indicate that while obesity can affect a number of risk factors for heart disease, the two are also directly related in that obesity can be a predictive indicator of heart disease. In a fourteen year study, it was indicated that middle-aged women with a BMI index of greater than twenty-three, but less than twenty-five still had an approximate 50% increase in the risk of both fatal and non-fatal coronary heart disease. This indicates a clear, direct connection between obesity and heart disease.

Another factor that may connect severe obesity and heart disease more directly is that of abnormalities in the left ventricular mass and function of the heart. While in the majority of cases, these abnormalities are seen in the presence of both hypertension and obesity, there are recorded causes where these abnormalities are seen without hypertension being apparent. In such cases, the only condition that appears to affect the condition of the heart is severe obesity. This information indicates that obesity and heart disease are intricately linked and can definitely lead to congestive heart failure.

Treatment Choices for Obesity and Heart Disease

Since a connection, either direct or indirect, has long been established between obesity and heart disease, the medical profession has developed a number of avenues over the years to combat these two related problems.

In certain patients with congestive heart failure, for instance, sodium restriction and even a small reduction in weight may dramatically improve the function of the heart and lead to a reduction in the risk of heart disease. In fact, a number of studies have indicated that a drastic weight loss, such as after gastro-intestinal surgery, greatly decreases the occurrence of both heart disease and insulin based diabetes.

There are, of course, any number of ways to treat both obesity and heart disease. These can include changes in diet and exercise practices, medication, and sometimes even surgery. Only you and your doctor can decide what choice is best for you. Whatever method is chosen, the connection between obesity and heart disease is becoming clearer everyday.

Learn About the Heart Disease Symptom That Can Save Your Life

The heart has the most important function of pumping blood throughout our bodies without which we cannot live, ensuring that one's heart is in good shape and functional should always be on the priority list.

However, sometimes one heart disease or the other creeps on us and by being able to identify a heart disease symptom will save one's life.

Heart Attack Symptoms

The heart disease symptom that is connected to heart attack is easier to read than other diseases but at the same time it can get confusing; if you are not sure of any one symptom, check with your doctor right away.

- Pain, fullness and/or squeezing sensation of the chest

- Jaw pain, toothache, headache

- Shortness of breath

- Nausea, vomiting and/or general upper middle abdomen discomfort

- Sweating profusely

- Heartburn and/or indigestion

- Arm pain - more commonly left arm but sometimes the right arm as well

- Upper back pain

- General feeling of being unwell

One or more of these symptoms may occur at the same time depending from person to person where as some may have no symptoms what so ever. Knowing to recognize the heart disease symptom is not easy and often it may lead to be just a false alarm however never ignore any symptom - it's better to be too careful than sorry.

Coronary Heart Disease Symptoms

The symptoms associated with coronary heart disease are pronounced such as:

- Chest pain or angina - is the most common heart disease symptom related to coronary disease however, the intensity of pain may vary from person to person

- Shortness of breath - this is a usual symptom of congestive heart failure; the heart is usually very weak at this point from lack of blood and oxygen and/or from a past heart attack

Heart disease symptom recognizing is usually hard as many of these symptoms can be caused by many other different factors as well; this is probably one of the main causes why some people walk in emergency rooms sometimes too late to be able to be helped.

If you are faced with any kind of doubt about a heart disease symptom that you may have, check with your doctor as soon as possible in order to avoid a disaster.

Your health is the most important possession, learn to listen to your heart and protect yourself from any heart disease by conducting regular check ups, eating healthy and exercising as much as possible.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Heart Disease Risk Factor: What to Avoid

A heart disease risk factor is a habit a person follows that makes them more susceptible to this horrible disease. It's said that more than 58 million Americans suffer from some kind of heart disease, and it is the number one killer of American adults. Heart disease kills more women than the other five top killers combined. For this reason, it's important to know what we can about this killer so that we may stop it from hurting any more people.

Examples of a heart disease risk factor include smoking, eating foods high in fat, and not getting enough exercise. Risk factors harm your heart, your overall health, and essentially, kill you slowly. A heart disease risk factor must be avoided if we hope to avoid this horrible disease.

Why Should You Know About Risk Factors?

Heart disease risk factors are important to study so that you can avoid the types of behaviors that bring on this disease. By adopting certain lifestyle changes, we can stay away from the heart disease risk factor that is harming you minute by minute, without you even knowing about more than likely.

Also, it's important to note that a certain factor may be a heart disease risk factor and most people aren't even aware of it. Not many know that there are certain factors that can't be helped. An example of this type of heart disease risk factor includes age; you can't help how old you are.

Similarly, you can't help what family you come from either. That's right, heart disease can be genetic and could come from your father, your mother, or your grandmother. That means that heredity can also be a heart disease risk factor. These risk factors are important to understand so that we can track this disease and stop it with more scientific research. Research will lead to more medicines and procedures that will help in stopping this disease.

Just because there are risk factors that can't be helped doesn't mean we should just give up. Curb the risk factors that you can control such as the smoking, the over eating, and the lack of exercise, and let's help stop this disease from spreading.

Heart disease is a disease that can, for the most part, be prevented. It's important to study the heart disease risk factor that plagues you the most. What are you doing that could be hurting you? Try to limit the habit or cut it out completely, and your heart will thank you for it.

Heart Disease in Women: The Number One Killer

To understand the seriousness of heart disease in women, we need to first look at the facts. According to recent studies, it's found that more than 8 million American women are currently living with some form of heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women and more women than men die of heart disease each year.

Heart disease in women can be diagnosed and treated but the key to staying healthy is prevention. Once a woman finds out that she has heart disease, it may already be too late. Chances are, that woman has engaged in several risk factors throughout her lifetime that contributed to her contracting the disease. Such risk factors that increase the risk of heart disease in women include cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, not being active, diabetes and obesity.

Women need to understand that these risk factors need to be avoided as much as possible because they are so susceptible to the disease. Heart disease in women doesn't need to be as much of an epidemic it has become. With just a few lifestyle changes, all women can once more live long and healthy lives without the risk for heart disease.

Of course, there are other risk factors that increase the risk for heart disease in women that can't be helped. These risk factors include age, heredity, the effects of menopause, etc. By knowing this, women should arm themselves with as much information as they can so that they can know just what they are dealing with.

Heart disease in women doesn't need to have such a high morality rate.

By adopting a few lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise, eating right, quitting smoking and reducing stress levels, women can drastically reduce the propensity for heart disease. This is important not only for heart disease but for other diseases as well.

Heart disease in women does claim many lives each and every year but the disease can be manageable and preventable. Women need to study and learn as much as they can. They need to be educated. Not many women know that they have such a high probability of getting the disease. All women need to know that they have a greater risk of getting the disease than men. By understanding and knowing this, women will have a step up on this horrible disease and, maybe one day, heart disease in women will be a thing of the past.

Some Promising Trends for a Cure for Heart Disease

Heart disease is perhaps the nation's most prevalent killer of men and women. Because of this, there is constant research being conducted to find a cure for heart disease. Although there is no official cure as of yet, a few procedures and treatments do show a great deal of promise.

A Simple Potential Cure for Heart Disease

Recent studies have indicated that the same methods used to prevent heart disease can possibly be a way to cure heart disease. These studies indicate that a drastic change in diet and exercise practices can in fact reverse or even cure heart disease.

One such program is the one presented by Dean Ornish Program. Based on a whole food and plant based diet, this program provides a very regimented and regulated plan as a cure for heart disease. According to this program, there are a number of steps that are necessary to reverse the affect of this killer disease.

The first is to lower the fat intake to 10% of your daily calorie intake. This action alone has been shown to lower cholesterol, and help with hypertension, both major contributing factors of heart disease. Also, this plan calls for lowering the intake of dietary cholesterol by a drastic amount. In addition, this program calls for a regular amount of soy protein, usually amounting to 15% of your daily calorie intake.

In addition to some drastic dietary changes, this program also calls for at least 30 minutes of strenuous exercise per day to help maintain a healthy weight and body condition. All these factors, as well as quitting smoking and drinking, in small quantities appear to be very promising techniques for a cure for heart disease.

Of course, the body is not the only part of you involved with finding a cure for heart disease. Many studies indicate that joining a support group and having the encouragement of family and friends is a fantastic way to help beat this disease. Different stress management techniques such as meditation, anger management, and even being among friends are great ways to help in the cure for heart disease.

Surgical Options

Of course, occasionally for various reasons, drastic changes in diet or exercise practices are not really available to the patient. Diet and exercise should always be the first change made in finding a cure for heart disease, but sometimes surgery might be a possibility.

Although surgery is drastic, and it doesn't always fix the underlying problem of bad diet or poor exercise habits that contributed to the disease, it can be one method for a cure for heart disease. One such common surgery is that of angioplasty. This procedure uses a tiny balloon to push open blocked arteries around the heart to aid in the flow of blood, and help in the cure for heart disease.

Another surgical method that is gaining popularity in the cure for heart disease is that of bypass surgery. In this procedure, small pieces of veins or arteries are taken from another portion of the body, sometimes the arms or legs, and used to create a 'bypass' for the blood around the blocked blood vessel.

Which is Right for You?

Which cure for heart disease is correct for you can only be decided by consulting with your chosen medical professional, and perhaps even consulting a cardiologist would be in order. Most likely the best cure for heart disease would be a combination of exercise diet, and surgical options as outlined by your doctor.

A Discussion of the Risk Factors for Congestive Heart Disease

Congestive heart disease affects approximately five million Americans, and some medical professionals believe that within five years time approximately half of those people will unfortunately die from their condition. Congestive heart disease is marked by the heart's inability to pump efficiently enough to supply the body with freshly oxygenated blood. It is the leading cause of hospitalization among senior citizens and accounted for nearly 20% of the hospitalization of this age group in 2003.

Since congestive heart disease is a condition that warrants attention, a brief discussion of some of the risk factors might be in order. While some of these factors cannot be helped, there are many things a person can change about their lives to reduce the risk.

Risk Factors That Cannot be Helped

There are a number of risk factors for congestive heart disease that simply can't be helped. One such factor is a previous heart attack, and advanced age, specifically over the age of 65, is another common factor for this condition. Another, of course, is a history of diabetes. Both these factors, although treatable cannot be reversed, and if you have had one of these medical conditions, there is a distinct possibility that congestive heart disease might be a condition to watch out for.

Another risk factor that cannot be changed when dealing with congestive heart disease is having a genetic disposition to the disease. Genetic testing and knowledge of the complete family history can go a long way in indicating whether or not congestive heart disease is something that should be a concern for you.

Risk Factors the Can Be Changed

While some factors that indicate the potential for congestive heart disease cannot be helped, there are a number that can. These factors include such things as chronic high blood pressure, drug or alcohol abuse, thyroid disease, and even heart valve disease. All these risk factors, especially drug and alcohol abuse can be managed with help from your medical professional or friendly neighborhood physician. The best course of action is talk to your doctor to design a plan to attack congestive heart disease and hopefully stop it from affecting your life.

Unfortunately, congestive heart disease is difficult to diagnose because it often occurs as a result of or in conjunction with other forms of heart disease. Perhaps the best hope for patients with this disease is to catch it early and begin treatment as soon as possible.

Understanding Congenital Heart Disease

The heart is the most important part of one's body; it ensures blood circulation throughout the body, without which life would not be possible. Medicine has advanced greatly and, with modern technology, almost all heart diseases can be treated successfully if detected in time.

What is Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease, or CHD, is a malformation of the heart or a large blood vessel near the heart. Congenital heart disease is a condition that one is born with and it is one of the most common forms of major birth defects in newborns, affecting approximately 8% per 1000 infants. It is normally diagnosed within one week from birth in 40-50% of congenital heart disease cases.

This condition is not a problem until after birth, as the blood circulation differs from that after birth. The fetal circulation derives oxygen and nutrients from the mother through the placenta, and the fetal circulation has important communications between the upper heart chambers and the great blood vessels near the heart. Consequently, most types of congenital heart disease are well tolerated during fetal life.

The Cause of Congenital Heart Disease

This disease can have different causes such as:

- Environmental factors such as chemicals or drugs are sometimes to blame. For example, if a mother-to-be catches measles or rubella during pregnancy, the infection can impair the development of the unborn baby's heart or other organs. Similar effects can take place if the mother-to-be consumes alcohol during pregnancy.

- Maternal diseases for the mother can increase the risks of developing congenital heart disease in the unborn baby.

- Chromosome abnormalities - a common chromosome abnormality causing congenital heart disease is Down's syndrome where an extra #21 chromosome is present. About 50% of children with Down's syndrome also have CHD.

Treating Congenital Heart Disease

The treatment depends from person to person due to the huge difference in occurrence from case to case. Everything needs to be taken into consideration in order to follow an effective treatment program.

A treatment program can only be decided after proper diagnosis made by a specialist. While eating healthy and exercising always helps, congenital heart disease is a special case which needs to follow strict doctor's instructions; no self medication or treatment is advised. Information and guidelines are available both online and in the doctor's office to help one educate themselves in order to deal better with this disease.

Discover The Symptoms of Heart Disease

Symptoms of Heart Disease

The most common symptoms of heart disease, other than angina, include shortness of breath, palpitations, irregular or quickened heartbeat, weakness, dizziness, nausea and sweating.

Angina or angina pectoris is the medical term used to describe chest pain. Heart disease treatment may include drug therapy, surgery or implantation of a device to help maintain proper heart rhythm, such as a pacemaker or ICD.

The common symptoms of heart disease are also the primary symptoms of heart attacks. In short, anyone who experiences the symptoms of heart disease should see their doctor immediately.

Evaluation by a physician is necessary to determine which heart disease treatment is appropriate, assuming any treatment at all is needed. Self-diagnosis or self-treatment of chest pain is never appropriate. Never forget that a heart attack does permanent damage to the muscle of the heart.

There are a number of different diseases of the heart. The aforementioned symptoms of heart disease pertain to coronary artery disease, which is a narrowing of the blood vessels leading to the heart due to a build up of fats and plaque.

Heart disease treatment and risk factors mentioned below also pertain primarily to coronary artery heart disease since this is one of the most common of all heart dieases.

Treatment for coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis can be quite effective and can actually reverse the disease process over time. Attention to blood pressure and cholesterol levels may prevent coronary artery disease, which is why regular check-ups, including blood pressure and cholesterol checks, are so important.

Being male is considered one of the major uncontrollable risk factors for developing heart disease. Other uncontrollable risk factors include older age and genetics. In women, there is an increased risk of heart disease associated with a decrease in natural estrogen levels that occur after menopause or after removal of the ovaries, but hormone replacement therapy, thought to reduce the risk of heart disease at one time, is no longer considered beneficial for the purpose.

Risk factors for developing coronary artery disease that are considered controllable include: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, improper diet, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, chronic stress, uncontrolled diabetes and inflammation of the arteries. A blood test for C-reactive protein is a particularly important test, as it may reveal the presence of inflammation of the arteries.

Although the symptoms of heart disease may include quickened heart rate, increased heart rate during exercise does not damage the heart. The heart was meant to be active. It is a muscle and like any other muscle of the body, it will weaken from lack of use. Regular aerobic exercise can strengthen the cardiovascular system, improve circulation and even improve the symptoms of heart disease, including heart failure. Most doctors recommend regular exercise as part of a complete heart disease treatment program.

In addition, a regular exercise program, along with a reasonable diet, can help a person maintain a normal healthy weight. When obesity is a factor, even the best heart disease treatment options may be ineffective.

People who have had surgery as a heart disease treatment reduce the risk that their arteries will become narrow again by following practical dietary and exercise recommendations.

Symptoms of heart disease, such as shortness of breath and feelings of weakness may be relieved by beginning a regular exercise program and making dietary changes. Of course, no one who has been diagnosed with heart disease should begin an exercise program without first consulting their doctor.

Other health benefits of a regular exercise program that are directly related to coronary artery disease include decreased blood pressure, reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improved sleep.

Sleep apneas, a condition in which breathing stops for a short time during sleep, commonly occurs in people who are inactive and overweight and has been associated with both high blood pressure and heart disease.

One more factor that has been linked to both coronary artery disease and kidney disease is a high homocysteine level. Homocysteine is an amino acid found in meat. High levels of homocysteine are associated with low levels of B6, B12 and folic acid. Increasing intake of B vitamins and folic acid can break down homocysteine. Folic acid and the B-vitamins are found primarily in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Other substances found in vitamins, minerals and other food compounds and believed to be important for heart health are called antioxidants.

Antioxidants fight substances called free radicals, which can cause cellular damage that leads to the development of heart disease. One of the richest source of antioxidants currently known is a fruit called the mangosteen. Also a good source of B vitamins and folic acid, this Asian fruit is only available in most areas in the form of a juice or puree.

Research has proven that the mangosteen contains powerful anti-inflammatories. Unlike synthetic anti-inflammatories which can be ineffective and have unwanted side effects, scientists believe that natural anti-inflammatories have no side effects and are more effective, because they target a large group of inflammatory responses.

Current heart disease treatment can be effective if those who suffer from the disease make the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes. Anyone can benefit from efforts to correct controllable risk factors. In addition, making dietary and lifestyle changes can prevent the symptoms of heart disease from progressing to heart attack or heart failure.

Statistics about Heart Disease Discussed Here

According to the statistics about heart disease published in 2006 by the Center for Disease Control, 24.7 million adults have been diagnosed with heart disease. This figure is equivalent to 11.5% of the American adult population.

Reversing heart disease may not be possible in all cases, but according to the American Heart Association, most people with cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure, can live full and enjoyable lives, with the right treatment and attention to lifestyle.

The CDC is only one agency that publishes statistics about heart disease. "Diseases of the heart" is listed as the number one cause of death in the United States. It is important to remember that this figure includes all deaths caused by all of the different diseases of the heart, not just coronary artery disease, which is a narrowing of the arteries that lead to the heart.

For simplicity's sake, the National Vital Statistics Report, which is responsible for publishing these statistics about heart disease deaths, does not include subcategories in this report. It is impossible to tell how many of these deaths (654,092 in 2004) were caused by coronary artery disease, heart failure or another disease affecting the heart.

Also known as atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease is the focus of some research concerning reversing heart disease.

According to the Health Center at the University of Texas, noninvasive positron emission tomography, a technology developed by Dr. K. Lance Gould allows doctors to see where heart blood flow has been restricted by early cholesterol buildup in the arteries, with greater accuracy than previous technologies, including the stress test.

A treatment program can be designed for the individual to remove the cholesterol from the artery wall, thus reversing heart disease processes. Reversing heart disease takes time, typically 18-24 months and there is some remaining risk of heart attack during this time, but the doctors and researchers at UT believe that treatment can be quite effective. Dietary and lifestyle changes will still be necessary to prevent additional cholesterol build-up, however.

According to statistics about heart disease published by the American Heart Association, 5 million Americans are living with heart failure and approximately 500,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

Coronary artery disease and heart failure are not the same conditions, but untreated coronary artery disease can lead to heart failure. These and other statistics about heart disease indicate that coronary artery disease leads to heart failure about 20% of the time, which is distressing, since the latest technology can be effective at reversing heart disease and preventing its progression to heart failure.

Some doctors and researchers believe that coronary artery disease and many other diseases can be linked to inflammatory responses within the body. Being overweight can cause inflammation all over the body. Improper diet can lead to inflammation. Type II or adult onset diabetes, one of the many risk factors for heart disease, is believed to be linked to inflammation. All of this research supports the importance of proper diet, regular exercise and weight control.

Some researchers have reached the conclusion that natural anti-inflammatories may be safer and more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs, because natural anti-inflammatories target a number of inflammatory responses, while synthetic anti-inflammatories may target only a single inflammatory molecule.

The mangosteen -- an exotic fruit from Southeast Asia, not to be confused with the common mango -- has been shown in scientific research to contain a very potent anti-inflammatory, a Cox-2 inhibitor, as well as numerous vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that can prevent blood clots; reduce bad cholesterol and support overall function of the heart.

Patient reports indicate that it helps control diabetes; lowering blood sugar levels and reducing the need for insulin. Mangosteen products may also help those who need to get up and take a walk, by increasing energy and improving blood flow. There is no magic health elixir for preventing or reversing heart disease, but mangosteen may help.

The statistics for heart disease may be depressing, but even more depressing is the fact that 66.3% of all Americans over the age of 20 are overweight, another risk factor for developing heart disease.

Heart Disease

Heart disease, as the name implies, is an affliction of heart and its associated systems. Around 13 million people suffer from coronary heart disease, with 479,000 people dying from it each year. Congenital heart disease affects 8-10 out of 1,000 children every year in America.

Heart disease has branched into different types, each disease having its own causal factors, symptoms, treatment procedures, and prevention measures. However, still there are certain similarities in the symptoms and diagnoses among the numerous types of heart diseases.

Different types of heart diseases include coronary heart disease, congenital heart disease, heart valve disease, heart muscle disease, aorta disease, pericardial disease, heart failure, and many, many more.

Some common symptoms of heart disease include chest discomfort, pain in different parts of the body, shortness of breath, nausea, coldness, vomiting, unexplained severe headaches, sweating, anxiousness, heartburn, swelling in limbs and tissues, and many more.

Sometimes, there might not be any symptoms of heart disease. Hence, it is called a silent killer also.

Usually, diagnosis is possible through tests which are conducted especially for this purpose. Some tests include electrocardiography tests, which measures the electrical activity when the person is at rest; laboratory tests, which includes blood testing; nuclear imaging; ultrasound; radiological imaging; invasive tests, which involves the insertion of catheters into the heart's blood vessels for closer examination; and many more.

Heart disease prevention lies in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping a good diet. One should be particularly careful if high cholesterol, diabetes, and other problems run in the family. Some heart diseases are triggered by these factors.

Apart from this, medications are also available to keep blood pressure, diabetes, and other undesirable things in control. For those suffering from severe heart disease, surgery remains the ultimate remedy.

Heart disease is a dangerous disease which can slowly strengthen its hold on people without their being even aware of it. One has to be particularly careful and recognize its symptoms, besides taking good care to prevent from being a victim.

Heart Disease

Heart Disease is a hot health topic today. With all of the information about heart disease on both TV and the Internet, do

you really know which information is advice that you can trust on heart disease? How about information that is not accurate

on heart disease?

There are many different kinds of "heart disease" and we will briefly touch on those in this article, as well.

Are you ready to learn more about what heart disease is and the different types of heart disease? Good, then keep reading!

What Is Heart Disease?

What exactly is heart disease? The latest definition of heart disease is any disease that affects how the heart normally

works. Narrowing or hardening of the arteries that lead to the heart is the most common type of cardiac disease, today.

Of course this can encompass quite a few types or variations of heart disease.

Various types of heart disease include:

* Alcoholic cardiomyopathy

* Aortic regurgitation

* Aortic stenosis

* Arrhythmias

* Cardiogenic shock

* Congenital heart disease

* Coronary artery disease (CAD)

* Dilated cardiomyopathy

* Endocarditis

* Heart attack (myocardial infarction)

* Heart failure

* Heart tumor

* Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

* Idiopathic cardiomyopathy

* Ischemic cardiomyopathy

* Acute mitral regurgitation

* Chronic mitral regurgitation

* Mitral stenosis

* Mitral valve prolapse

* Peripartum cardiomyopathy

* Pulmonary stenosis

* Stable angina

* Unstable angina

* Tricuspid regurgitation

As you can see, there are many categories of what actually constitutes heart disease. Now that we have identified different

types of cardiac disease, let's explore some of the underlying causes of these diseases.

Causes Of Heart Disease

Just as many different names for cardiac disease can be confusing and complicated, so can the causes of heart disease. And we

will cover the most common causes below.

Briefly, here are some causes:

* Hypertension ("high blood pressure")

* Heart valves that do not function normally

* Electrical conduction of the heart that causes an abnormal rhythm.

* Heart's pumping function that is affected by toxins or infections.

* Congenital or "birth defects" of the heart.

How Many People Are Affected By Heart Disease?

According to the National Institute of Health, there are approximately 70.1 million people affected by some type of cardiac

disorder! Heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death in the US.

Among minorities, cardiac disease or heart disease, ranks first as leading cause of death. The rates of deaths declined for

those groups with the exception of one group, American Indian females. The time frame for this study was between 1985 and

2002.

Between 1992 and 2002, the percentage of decline of death rates for CHD (Cardiac Heart Diseas) was the highest among white

males and the least decline was in the black female population.

Financial Impact Of Cardiac Heart Disease

Besides the horrific costs of CHD in terms of personal tragedy, society also bears the brunt of the effects of this disease.

According to the study, 2005 costs for CVD(Cardiovascular Disease) were staggering. Overall, costing 393 Billion Dollars!

Costs broke down like this:

* 242 Billion Dollars for direct health care costs.

* 35 Billion Dollars for indirect costs of morbidity.

* 117 Billion Dollars in DIRECT costs of mortality.

As you can see, cardiovascular disease is one that while complicated and intricate in name and causes, is simply devastating

to both the individual and to the society that the affected comes from. It should be taken very seriously and not ignored, so

education and prevention are essential in decreasing the effects of these diseases, commonly know as cardiac disease.

This article was written and screened by a license medical professional. This article is for informational purposes only.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What is Heart Disease?

UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS OF YOUR HEART AND HEART DISEASE

Understand the basics associated with your heart and blood vessels. Here you will get an understanding of all the different types of cardiovascular disease that can be confusing. Get a basic overview of cardiovascular disease and the conditions that can affect your heart and blood vessels.

You probably hear a lot about preventing heart disease. But maybe you're not sure what heart disease is. Is it the same thing as cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease or other heart terms you sometimes see?

With many medical terms related to the heart and blood vessels, it's no wonder you may be puzzled or confused. Here you will have a chance to brush up on some basic terms about cardiovascular disease (CVD) that can help you stay more informed. This can then help you when you're watching the news or meeting with your doctor.

The first term to know is Cardiovascular Disease or CVD. CVD is a broad term. CVD is a large collection of diseases and conditions.

If you want to be technical, CVD refers to any disorder in any of the various parts of your heart system. Your cardiovascular system consists of your heart and all the blood vessels throughout your whole body.

Cardiovascular disease has two main mechanisms:

Diseases of the Heart (cardio)

Diseases of the Blood Vessels (vascular)

Everything from an aneurysm to a heart attack to varicose veins are all types of CVD. You may be born with a type of CVD (congenital) or you may acquire others later on in life possibly from a lifetime of unhealthy habits, lack of exercise, smoking, and other factors.

Here's a closer look at the two mechanisms of cardiovascular disease.

Diseases of the Heart

The diseases and conditions that affect the heart are in a group known as heart disease. The heart consists of a muscle that pumps blood. Arteries supply blood to the heart muscle, and the valves make sure that the blood within the heart is pumped in the right direction. Problems can occur in any of these areas.

Just like CVD, Heart Disease is a broad term.

Here are the specific types of heart disease:

**Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

**Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

**Cardiomyopathy

**Valvular heart disease

**Pericardial disease

**Congenital heart disease

**Heart failure (CHF)

Diseases of the Blood Vessels

Blood vessels are in basic terms hollow tubes that carry blood to the organs and tissues throughout your body.

There are 4 basic types of blood vessels:

Arteries.

These blood vessels carry oxygenated blood to all parts of the body

Veins.

These blood vessels carry deoxygenated blood back to your heart. That is why they have a bluish cast to their color

Capillaries.

These are tiny vessels that connect your arteries and veins.

Lymphatics.

Fluid that leaks out of your capillaries in order to bathe your cells.

Here are some types of blood vessel disorders:

**Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis

**High blood pressure (HBP) or Hypertension (HTN)

**Stroke

**Aneurysm

**Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and claudication

**Vasculitis

**Venous incompetence

**Venous thrombosis or blood clot

**Varicose veins

**Lymphedema

Heart Disease is a serious condition. Watch your fatty food intake, smoking, as well as your sweet tooth intake. Both can cause serious heart problems.

Warning - Ignore Heart Disease At Your Peril!

The Heart Disease Hit List

  • FACT - Heart disease is the biggest killer in the western world, and has been for more than a century.
  • FACT - Heart disease related deaths account for more than a third of deaths.
  • FACT - A large percentage of heart attack victims die before they reach hospital.
  • FACT - The first sign of heart disease that many heart attack victims notice is sudden excruciating pain followed by death.

Shocked yet? You should be! In-fact we all should be. Many people ignore the occasional chest pain, the twinge in the arm or shoulders after a meal etc, and take no interest in reversing heart disease. Feeling safe in the knowledge that if they have a heart problem they'll go to the hospital and get fixed up; maybe take steps toward reversing heart disease through lifestyle changes if the doc says so. Sounds like a good plan huh? Unfortunately as the above statistics clearly show, the plan can fail with tragic consequences, which could be avoided by reversing heart disease through a change of lifestyle.

Reversing heart disease should be of prime importance to every adult in the western world. Poor lifestyle and complacency are sadly all too closely linked to the heart disease death rate. Check out the chilling statistics and you'll find that the heart disease death rates are similar in every western country, and yet the majority of people are still complacent about the dangers associated with this silent killer.

The main risk factors are:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Stress

Combine a few, or perhaps all of these risk factors and you have a lethal time-bomb ticking away inside of you, with prevention being the best solution by reversing heart disease through lifestyle changes. Most of the major risk factors are silent. They must be sought actively, and much of the responsibility for their detection, and reversing heart disease lies with each of us as individuals. Regular checkups are particularly necessary if there is a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or diabetes.

There has been a slight decline in the death rate from heart disease over the last two decades as a portion of the population has heeded the warning and taken steps to modify their lifestyle to reduce the risk factors and thus reversing heart disease that would otherwise have progressed within their bodies. Despite this decline however, the death rate is still far too high.

Another worrying problem is the high obesity rate among the young population today and its associated health problems, of which heart disease is only one. Many nutritionists and scientist believe this generation of adults will be among the first to outlive their children, a terrible thought for any parent. This highlights the importance of reversing heart disease factors for ourselves as well as our children through education and encouraging the whole family to get involved in making positive changes to diet and lifestyle.

Heart Disease and Dietary Supplements - Discover the Best Nutrients to Enhance Heart Health

Many people are interested in learning more about heart disease and dietary supplements in order to educate themselves on preventive strategies against heart disease. However, before we delve into some of the best heart health supplements, let's highlight some important facts about this disease.

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease is the general term for diseases or conditions that affects the heart (cardio) or the blood vessels (vascular). As such, there are many different types of heart diseases. However, coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease.

Coronary artery disease means narrowing of the coronary arteries. It is caused by a process called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which is the gradual buildup of plague -- deposits made up of cholesterol, other fats, and calcium. Eventually, diminished blood flow can "starve" the heart muscle and lead to angina (chest pain). A complete blockage can cause a heart attack. In fact, coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. each year.

Moreover, many studies indicate that individuals with high cholesterol levels are much more likely to develop atherosclerosis than people that maintain low cholesterol levels. As such, many high cholesterol level sufferers seek information about heart disease and dietary supplements. In addition, it has been found that high levels of the amino acid homocysteine may be associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis.

Indeed, hearing words like heart disease, heart attack, and stroke is scary and, as such, many people search for information in regards to heart disease and dietary supplements to promote heart health. However, we believe before you can make an informed decision about health disease and dietary supplements, it's important to understand the risk factors associated with this condition, which is vital to your overall preventive strategies against heart disease. They include:

  • High LDL "bad" cholesterol
  • Low HDL "good" cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Tobacco
  • Lack of exercise
  • Unhealthy nutrition
  • Overweight/Obesity
  • Heavy alcohol intake
  • Stress
  • Family history
  • Age
  • Men

Needless to say, the first step in preventing or reducing your chances for heart disease is committing to a healthy lifestyle. In fact, aside from age, gender, and heredity, you have a great deal of power in controlling each of the aforementioned risk factors of heart disease.

With that being said, let's move on to heart disease and dietary supplements.

While it's important to understand that no dietary or herbal supplement will counteract a poor diet or the lack of exercise, it can be powerful components when used along with a heart healthy diet and a health enhancing lifestyle. Now, in regards to your heart health strategy and/or strategies against heart disease, you may want to address it having three main goals in mind and then use a combination of diet, exercise, and dietary and/or herbal supplements that works best for you. We believe that heart disease prevention must be addressed from several different perspectives since the disease results from a number of related "risk factors" and not from a single cause.

The three main goals for heart health are:

  1. Opening Blood Vessels
  2. Strengthening the Heart Muscle
  3. Controlling Free Radical Damage -- Antioxidants

Supplements that Open Blood Vessels

Our research indicates that when it comes to heart disease and dietary supplements used for opening blood vessels, the following are some of the best and, as such, may be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Ginkgo biloba is well renowned for improving blood flow throughout the body, including the heart muscle. Ginkgo is also a powerhouse antioxidant and it appears to reduce blood stickiness, which lowers the risk of blood clots.

Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) that benefits heart health. Fish oil helps prevent platelets in the blood from clumping together, reducing the risk that blood clots will form. It has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower triglycerides (blood fats) levels, and improve blood flow. Indeed, fish oil omega 3's are praised by many experts as being one of the best heart disease and dietary supplements, meaning it should be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Policosanol -- Some studies have shown that policosanol can lower one's bad cholesterol (LDL) by up to 20% and raise beneficial cholesterol (HDL) by 10%.

Guggulipid is prized for its ability to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels as well as high blood triglyceride levels. It has also shown to boost the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

Vitamin B Complex, particularly vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid reduce levels of homocysteine.

Chromium is a mineral that plays a role in helping to manage cholesterol levels. In addition, it can help improve blood sugar control for diabetes sufferers.

Garlic is noted to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as slightly lower blood pressure. In addition, studies indicate that garlic can help reduce the likelihood of blood clots.

Other nutrients that help open blood vessels include: Niacin and Soy protein

Supplements that Strengthen the Heart Muscle

Our research indicates that when it comes to heart disease and dietary supplements to strengthen the heart muscle, the following are some of the best and, as such, may be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Magnesium -- This mineral plays a vital role in controlling muscle contraction and relaxation. It is also involved in regulating blood pressure (by relaxing blood vessels) and can help reduce the tendency of blood clotting.

Coenzyme Q10 is prized for its ability to strengthen the heart muscle and help prevent heart attacks and heart disease.

Hawthorn is a powerful heart tonic. It also strengthens the hearts pumping ability (muscle), helping the heart to beat more forcefully and efficiently.

Other possible heart muscle strengtheners include: L- Carnitine and Potassium

About Heart Disease and Dietary Supplements: Antioxidants

Antioxidants are believed to help prevent heart disease by fighting free radicals, substances that harm the body when left unchecked. These nutrients are on a constant search and destroy mission, fighting the continuous onslaught of free radicals. The following dietary supplements help fight free radicals and, as such, should be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Grape Seed Extract is a rich source of flavonoid compounds (oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs) that perform as potent antioxidants and powerful blood vessel strengtheners.

Green tea contains a particular group of potent antioxidants called polyphenols. Green tea also protects LDL cholesterol and blood vessel linings from oxidative damage.

Some other antioxidants noted to help with cardiovascular heart health include: Vitamins C and E, and Resveratrol

Precautions

Indeed, educating yourself about heart disease and dietary supplements is important. However, before you start any dietary supplement program for heart disease prevention or treatment, please make sure you discuss it with your physician.

Nutritional-Supplement-Educational-Centre's Opinion

We believe that you should consider, if possible, taking a comprehensive health heart product formulated by someone that is qualified to create such a supplement. Here are a few reasons why...

  1. It could be very dangerous to your health to mix and match supplements and nutrients on your own.
  2. A formulated heart health product using carefully selected ingredients can enhance their therapeutic benefits, often much better than taking a single herb or nutrient on its own.
  3. Ratios of nutrients have to be balanced perfectly in order for it to be optimally effective.

Bottom Line:Although we have provided you with some of the best heart health supplements, there are highly sophisticated Nutraceutical companies that have designed comprehensive heart health products from lowering cholesterol levels to promoting artery and heart health. Therefore, it's important to understand the how and why of what makes these comprehensive products useful -- an important factor in making an informed choice about heart disease and dietary supplements

Congestive Heart Disease Information

Causes of Congestive Heart Disease

Congestive heart disease has many causes. They include, but are not limited to, the following causes:

* Weakening of the heart muscle due to viral infections. The weakness may also be caused by toxins such as alcohol abuse.

* Weakening of the heart muscle by coronary artery disease that has led to heart attacks.

* Weakening of the heart muscle by heart valve disease that involves large amounts of blood leakage.

* Heart muscle stiffness caused by a blocked heart valve.

* Uncontrolled high blood pressure, also called hypertension.

* High levels of the thyroid hormone.

* Excessive use of amphetamines ("speed").

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Disease

Either side of the heart muscle may weaken and cause congestive heart disease. The symptoms of congestive heart disease depend on the side of the heart that is affected. They can include these:

* asthma that can be attributed to the heart

* blood pooling in the body's overall circulation

* blood pooling in the liver's circulation

* enlargement of the heart

* shortness of breath

* skin color that appears bluish or dusky

* swelling of the body, especially the extremities

Congestive Heart Disease Risk Factors

As is true with most heart disease, family history is a major risk factor for congestive heart disease. Genetics cannot easily be altered. Age is a second risk factor that cannot be changed. Congestive heart disease is particularly prevalent among older people.

Aside from those two, however, risk factors can and should be addressed. Here are 7 risk factors for congestive heart disease that you may want to discuss with your health care provider.

1. High blood pressure: This is the highest risk factor for congestive heart disease! Men with uncontrolled high blood pressure are twice as likely as those with normal blood pressure to suffer congestive heart disease. If a woman has uncontrolled high blood pressure, she is three times as likely as women with normal blood pressure to develop congestive heart disease.

2. Heart Attacks: This is the second highest risk factor for congestive heart disease. Those who have had heart attacks that resulted in damage to the heart muscle, and scarring of the muscle tissue, have increased risks of experiencing congestive heart disease.

3. High Cholesterol: Showing high levels of cholesterol, particularly when levels of HDL are low, is listed as another risk factor for congestive heart disease.

4. Diabetes: Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are risk factors for developing congestive heart disease.

5. Obesity: Men and women who are overweight unnecessarily increase their risks of experiencing congestive heart disease. The heart must work harder when the body is not at a healthy weight, and can begin to lose its ability to deliver blood efficiently.

6. Prolonged Physical Inactivity: A sedentary lifestyle, with little exercise, puts people at risk for congestive heart disease, especially as they increase in age. The heart needs cardiovascular exercise to remain strong and able to function well.

7. Smoking: Smoking increases the heart's workload. It also affects the lungs. This is a risk for congestive heart disease that anyone can eliminate.

CAUTION: Please see your doctor if you have reason to think you may have one or more of the risk factors or symptoms of congestive heart disease. The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only.

What is Heart Disease?

The term heart disease is a very broad term. Problems can arise within the heart muscle, arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle, or the valves within the heart that pump blood in the correct direction. Understanding the differences between each disease of the heart can help with the confusing applications of the term heart disease.

Coronary artery disease or CAD is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in both genders in the U.S. Coronary artery disease affects the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle. These coronary arteries harden and narrow due to the buildup of a waxy cholesterol, fatty substance referred to as plaque.

This plaque buildup is known as atherosclerosis. The increase in plaque buildup causes the coronary arteries to become narrower. This will cause blood flow to become restricted, decreasing the amount of oxygen delivered to the heart muscle. Decreasing the amount of oxygen supplied to the heart muscle can cause angina (chest pain) and lead to a heart attack. Coronary artery disease over time can weaken the heart muscle contributing to heart failure and arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).

Coronary heart disease is another confusing type of heart disease. Coronary heart disease is not the same thing as coronary artery disease. While coronary artery disease refers to the coronary arteries, coronary heart disease refers to the diseases of the coronary arteries and resulting complications. This includes such complications such as chest pain, a heart attack, and the scar tissue caused by the heart attack. Understanding this subtle difference between the two may impress your cardiologist.

Cardiomyopathy is a disease affecting the muscle of the heart. Cardiomyopathy can be genetic or caused by a viral infection. Cardiomyopathy can be classified as primary or secondary. Primary cardiomyopathy is attributed to a specific cause (hypertension, congenital heart defects, heart valve disease). Secondary cardiomyopathy is attributed to specific causes (diseases affecting other organs).

There are three main types of cardiomyopathy. Dilated cardiomyopathy is enlargement and stretching of the cardiac muscle. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy causes thickening of the heart muscle. Restrictive cardiomyopathy causes the ventricles of the heart to become excessively rigid causing blood flow to the ventricles to be difficult between heartbeats.

Valvular heart disease is a disease that affects the valves of the heart. Valves within the heart keep the blood flowing in the correct direction. Damage to valves can be caused by a variety of conditions leading to regurgitation or insufficiency (leaking valve), prolapse (improper closing of the valve), or stenosis (narrowing of the valve). Valvular heart disease can be genetic. Valvular heart disease can also be caused by certain infections such as rheumatic fever, and certain medications or radiation treatments for cancer.

The pericardium is a sac that encompasses the heart. Pericardial disease is inflammation (pericarditis), stiffness (constrictive pericarditis), or fluid accumulation (pericardial effusion) of the pericardium. Pericardial disease can be caused by many things such as occurring after a heart attack.

Congenital heart disease is a form of heart disease that develops before birth. Congenital heart disease is an extremely broad term. However, these diseases usually affect the formation of the heart muscle, chambers, or valves. A few examples include coarctation or a narrowing of a section of the aorta; atrial or ventricular septal defect is referred to as holes in the heart. Congenital heart disease should be classified more accurately as an inborn defect that occurs in around 1% of births. Congenital heart disease may be inherited (heredity), or caused by certain infections such as German measles contracted while pregnant. However, researchers are currently studying factors that may cause congenital heart disease.

Heart failure is another type of heart disease characterized by the heart's inability to effectively pump enough blood to the body's organs and tissues. When the body's vital organs do not receive enough blood flow certain signs and symptoms can occur such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and fluid retention. Congestive heart failure is a type of heart failure that leads to fluid buildup in the body. It is important to note that not all heart failure is congestive. Heart failure may result from other cardiovascular diseases such as cardiomyopathy or coronary heart disease. Heart failure may come on suddenly or develop over many years.

The month of February is the National Heart Disease awareness month. However, heart disease awareness should be each and every day. With staggering statistics, awareness begins with understanding the different types of heart disease. A diet and lifestyle that is conducive to heart health can mean the difference between life and being a statistic.