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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Disease Diseases Arrow to Heart DiseaseHeart Disease

cardiovascular systemHeart disease is the number one cause of death in the industrialized world.

Heart-healthy eating habits, kicking the smoking habit, and other lifestyle choices can go a long way to preventing heart disease, angina attacks, and even stroke.

Causes of heart disease

There are uncontrollable causes of heart disease - such as genetics, family history or autoimmune deficiencies. However, the primary causes of heart disease arising from lifestyle choices can often be minimized by controlling the following major risk factors:

Symptoms of heart disease

healthy heartSymptoms of heart or coronary artery disease can be quite pronounced or appear completely without warning - giving heart disease its reputation as the "silent killer."

Men are more apt to develop more obvious and classic symptoms, such as chest or arm pain, and at an earlier age than women. It's a finding that researchers suggest points to the protection afforded by female hormones.

More often, women show signs of heart disease as they age. Symptoms in women may be much more subtle - such as dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat) - which makes the condition much more difficult to diagnose in females than in males.

Although a classic sign of heart disease is chest pain (angina) sharp discomfort may also appear in the abdomen, back, or arm. Headaches and dizziness may occur due to elevated blood pressure. Other common symptoms include shortness of breath, with related swelling of feet and ankles as a result of a weak heart unable to pump blood and oxygen through the system.

A heart attack is, of course, the ultimate and most serious sign of heart disease which is usually accompanied by severe chest pain and can sometimes strike without warning.

heart healthy foods include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods
Reducing heart disease risks with diet:

• lower sodium to lower blood pressure

food substitutions for fats & sugars

• plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to help reduce cholesterol

Treating and preventing heart disease

A wide range of treatment options are available today to help control, relieve the causes, and eliminate heart disease symptoms.

Physical exams, electrocardiograms, treadmill stress tests and halter monitors help diagnose heart disease.

Heart drugs and medications can help lower blood pressure or cholesterol, dissolve blood clots ("clot busters"), relieve painful angina symptoms, or strengthen and regulate heart contractions.

Sophisticated surgery for treating heart disease includes such now-common procedures as coronary artery bypass surgery, coronary angioplasty, stenting, pacemaker implants, and heart transplants.

Today, pioneering breakthroughs in stem cell treatment for heart disease have also proven successful in growing adult heart tissue in diseased patients.

Of course, medications and surgical procedures can help correct life-threatening consequences, but afterwards patients also must take personal charge of eliminating common heart disease risk factors.

These include quitting the smoking habit, reducing stress, vitamin therapy with focus on B vitamins, reducing homocysteine levels in the blood, along with other changes that contribute to a heart-healthy lifestyle including increased exercise and a heart-healthy diet.

also see in Health -> How Red Wine Fights Cholesterol | Your Grill Can Help Your Diet

More about heart disease around the Web:

Find out more about cholesterol counts, the benefits of exercise, stress reduction, proper diet and other factors that effect the entire cardiovascular system and which you can control to reduce the chance of heart disease in your future...

American Heart Association
- If it's heart-health related, it's discussed on this site. Information for doctors, patients, caregivers or anyone else concerned with how to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Health Central - Heart Disease - Check out story articles full of good information on prevention, advice on living with heart disease, how to recognize a heart attack and other important issues. Treatments, nutrition, drugs, fitness and more covered in depth.

What causes coronary heart disease? - Here's plenty of good information from the BBC, with related resources

The Congenital Heart Information Network - From the site: "C.H.I.N. is an international organization that provides reliable information, support services and resources to families of children with congenital heart defects and acquired heart disease, adults with congenital heart defects, and the professionals who work with them." Chat, resources, news, links and more...

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.


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