Heart is one of the most important organs of the body. It is basically a kind of pump which supplies blood to different parts of the body. This blood supplies oxygen and other nutrients that is needed for proper functioning of the body. At the same time, carbon dioxide and other wastes are removed through the body through the blood. Arteries supply fresh blood to the tissues while veins carry the waste blood. The heart contains electrical “pacemaker” cells, which cause it to contract — producing a heartbeat.
Even a momentary lapse in functioning of the heart can have far reaching consequences, which can often be fatal.
Cardiovascular disease refers to different heart or blood vessel problems & usually indicates damage to your heart or blood vessels. Heart disease typically occurs when the blood vessels that lead to the heart are blocked or not functioning correctly.
When your arteries get blocked partially, the amount of blood that can be supplied to organs is reduced and the heart needs to exert more pressure. This gives rise to increased blood pressure. High blood pressure often precedes a heart attack/ heart failure/ cardiac arrest.
Arteries and other blood vessels can be blocked because of medical conditions as well as lifestyle choices. This includes:
– High cholesterol level, which is usually linked to diet. Cholesterol creates plaque, which is a waxy substance that gathers in blood vessels and eventually slows the passing of nutrients.
– High blood pressure/ hypertension
– Increased blood sugar/ diabetes
– Habits such as smoking
While factors like age and genetics may not be in one’s control, one can reduce the chances of heart disease by making healthier choices. This includes healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and alcohol etc. In addition, regular monitoring can help you keep a track of your health and take measures to prevent heart disease.