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.

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