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What is Heart Disease and What Are its Risk Factors?

Heart disease is a group of conditions that impacts the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). It’s a prevalent group of diseases that can impact people of any age. However, certain risk factors increase an individual’s risk of developing heart disease, which we will discuss further in this article.

Certain risk factors increase an individual’s risk of developing heart disease, which we will discuss further in this article.

Types of Heart Disease

The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which leads to the narrowing of the coronary arteries (the major blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart. Reduced blood flow around the heart and major arteries can lead to further cardiovascular issues, including angina, arrhythmias, and myocardial infarction (heart attack).

 

Heart failure is another prevalent form of cardiovascular disease that occurs when the heart is unable to effectively pump blood around the body. It leads to a reduced supply of oxygen to the organs and tissues, causing fatigue, shortness of breath, oedema, and an irregular heart rhythm.

 

You can also get valvular heart disease, where abnormalities arise from the valves within the heart. In normal circumstances, these valves open and close in a synergistic rhythm to allow blood to flow evenly between each of the heart chambers before getting pumped into the coronary arteries.

 

However, if the valves malfunction, it can impair blood flow within the heart, leading to chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, and a regular heartbeat.

 

There are additional forms of heart disease, and the above list isn’t extensive. You can learn more about the types of heart disease and how it develops by clicking here.

 

What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

Heart disease develops over time and is influenced by a number of different factors. The things that increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease are known as cardiovascular risk factors, and they include:

  • Age – older adults are more likely to develop heart disease.
  • Gender and biology – men are more likely to suffer from heart disease earlier in life than women, but women’s risk of cardiovascular issues increases after menopause due to the significant drop in estrogen associated with the cessation of the menstrual cycle.
  • Lifestyle factors – smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, an unhealthy diet, and chronic stress can all contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease over time.
  • High blood pressure – those who are diagnosed with chronic hypertension are more likely to experience one or more forms of heart disease in the future.
  • High blood cholesterol – elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood (known as ‘bad’ cholesterol) can contribute to the narrowing of the coronary arteries and increase the risk of cardiovascular events.
  • Diabetes – those who suffer from diabetes are more prone to suffering from heart disease later in life due to the damage diabetes can cause to the blood vessels and nerves.
  • Genetics – individuals with a positive family history of cardiovascular disease are more likely to develop it themselves.

 

This post contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase through one of my links. Please see my disclosure for more information.

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TWL Working Mom

Jennifer is the Owner of TWL and Co-Owner of a Influencer Facebook Group Influential Mamas.  Along with blogging + freelance writing and selling Zyia Activewear, she is a mom, army wife and full-time teacher. Jennifer lives in Washington State and is a born + raised New Yorker. In her spare time, she loves traveling, yoga, the beach, writing, listening to books and drinking coffee.

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