Heart disease is a blanket term that is used to refer to diseases affecting the heart. Some common types of heart disease include atherosclerosis, heart attack, heart failure, coronary, angina, rheumatic, arrhythmia and congenital heart diseases among others. Heart diseases are life threatening disease causing numerous deaths globally for instance, in the United States of America; it is the leading cause of death, claiming about 631,636 lives in 2006 (Heron, 2009). Coronary heart disease is the most prevalent type of heart disease. This paper focuses on the risk factors, symptoms, prevention and treatment of heart diseases.
- Risk factors
According to Chilnick (2008), the risk factors that enhance the chances of one getting heart diseases include obesity, diabetes, inactivity, high cholesterol level, gender (more men as compared to women are at risk of developing a heart attack), heredity, smoking of cigarette smoking as well as high blood pressure. Other factors that may contribute to heart diseases include stress, the use of birth control pills in women as well as excessive alcohol drinking.
Heart disease symptoms vary depending on the type and also according to the person affected. Some of the general symptoms include, fainting, weakness, shortness of breath and chest pain among others.
- Preventive measures
The following activities can help reduce the chances of developing heart diseases: exercising on a regular basis, stopping smoking, lowering cholesterol levels, taking control of our blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, lowering the level of sugar in the blood as well as eating healthy i.e. eating a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, but low in fats and sodium (Caldwell & Esselstyn, 2008).
Treatment of heart diseases depends on the individual type. Some may require total lifestyle changes for instance, exercising, moderating alcohol, quitting smoking etc., while others will require medications (i.e. diuretics to reduce the blood pressure) and surgeries (i.e. a heart transplant for coronary heart disease).
Heart diseases are diseases that affect the heart. They are serious diseases that claim numerous lives of people all over the world. Taking preventive measures such as doing exercises, lowering blood pressure as well as eating healthy diets among others, is very important in lowering our chances of developing the disease.