Cardiovascular Disease

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Cardiovascular disease is a general name for a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions that affect the heart and sometimes the blood vessels as well.

Risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease include having hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Other risk factors include being of African-American ancestry, male, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, having a lot of long-term stress, smoking and having a family history of a heart attack at an early age.

Some different types of cardiovascular disease includes angina, heart attack, heart failure, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and cardiac arrhythmias. Other forms of cardiovascular disease include congenital heart defects, cardiomyopathy, infections of the heart, coronary artery disease, heart valve disorders, myocarditis, and pericarditis.

Symptoms of cardiovascular disease vary depending on the specific type of cardiovascular disease. A classic symptom of cardiovascular disease is chest pain. However, with some forms of cardiovascular disease, such as atherosclerosis, there may be no symptoms in some people until life-threatening complications.

Treatment of cardiovascular disease begins with prevention. Many forms of cardiovascular disease can be prevented or controlled effectively with prevention measures that include regular exercise, not smoking or drinking excessively, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a heart-healthy well-balanced diet. Risk factors, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension can be prevented or controlled through these lifestyle changes, regular medical care and/or medication.

Heart disease can be improved — or even prevented — by making certain lifestyle changes. The following changes can help anyone who wants to improve his or her heart health:

Stop smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, especially atherosclerosis. Nicotine constricts blood vessels and...
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