Cardiovascular disease refers to all disease which involves the heart and/or blood vessels, arteries, occasionally veins. These problems are most commonly due to consequences of arterial disease, atherosclerosis, atheroma, but also can be related to infection, valvular and clotting problems.
Over 50 million Americans have heart and cardiovascular related problems. It is the number 1 cause of death and disability in the United States. By the time that cardiovascular heart problems are detected, the disease is usually quite advanced (having progressed for decades) often too advanced to allow successful prevention of major permanaent disbility or death.
Forms of cardiovascular disease
Major forms of cardiovascular disease include:
Specific illness features (sequelae) may include: arterial enlargements, arterial narrowings, high blood pressure, angina, irregular heart rates, inappropriate rapid heart rate, inappropriate slow heart rate, heart attack, heart enlargement , heart muscle weakness, inflammation of the heart muscle, overall heart pumping weakness, heart valve leak s, heart valve stenosis (failure-to-open fully), infection of the heart valve leaflets and heart stoppage.
Major risk factors of cardiovascular disease include:
- Pre-existing cardiovascular disease (usually not recognized by people or their physicians until very advanced)
- Less than excellent lipoprotein particle profile
- higher fibrinogen blood concentrations
- upper half of normal and especially elevated homocysteine
- aging and being male (women have more problems after menopause, but hormone replacement therapy worsens rather than improves the risk)
- Above optimal weight, especially increased intra-abdominal fat (even in people who appear thin)
- Genetic factors (most humans are genetically prone)
- Physically inactive
- Male sex (although cardiovascular disease is also the number health problem for women)
- Positive family history