How to Define Heart Disease
Do you ever get nervous about your heart health? I definitely do especially since I’m somewhat overweight, don’t have perfect blood pressure levels and probably not exercising enough.
But how do you define Heart Disease? Read below how John Bisognano (md.phd ) who’s a preventive cardiologist and director of outpatient cardiology care sums, lays it out for us:
People often equate heart disease with heart attacks, but they’re not one and the same. While heart attacks occur because of heart disease, heart disease is a broad term for many conditions that can raise your risk of stroke or heart failure.
1. Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs when plaque (cholesterol and fat deposits) builds up in the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. The plaque causes arteries to narrow, slowing or preventing the flow of blood. When our hearts don’t get enough blood, the resulting pain is called angina. If the artery is completely blocked, it can cause a heart attack.
Many times people learn they have this condition after they’ve experienced a heart attack. Doctors assess your risk of CAD by checking cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels and reviewing your family’s history of heart disease. If you’re at risk, your physician will likely prescribe inexpensive medications to lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, and closely monitor your condition.
Tests to check for CAD include electrocardiogram (EKG), exercise stress test, chest x-ray, angiogram and cardiac catheterization.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a silent disease. One in five Americans have it and don’t know it. That’s why doctors make a habit of using the arm cuff to check our patients’ levels as often as we can, looking closely at both the top and bottom numbers. This is important because when the force of blood pressing against the walls of your arteries is elevated, it raises the heart’s workload and can cause serious damage to the arteries as well as the heart…