Heart disease is one of the leading factors of fatalities all over the world. It is important to take care of your heart if you want to stay healthy because one wrong move can ruin your life for good. Heart disease is a very trivial and troubling matter that you and your physician have to deal with. That is why it is important for you to prevent it as much as you can by knowing how to avoid its causes. While some causes of heart disease are irrevocable such as genetics, there are still factors that lead to a cardiovascular disease which lies at your own control and disposal. So what causes heart disease?
What Causes Heart Disease?
Many people are asking what causes heart disease because they want to put a stop to it and save themselves from the burden of ailment. The causes of heart disease usually differ in each type of heart disease that you may suffer from.
Cardiovascular disease is a disease that causes damage to your heart and blood vessels through the builds up plaques in your arteries known as atherosclerosis. Once there is a build-up of plaques, it will thicken and stiffen your heart’s artery walls and stop the blood flow in your arteries that are going to the different organs and tissues of your body.
Atherosclerosis is actually the most common cause of CVD and it is in turn caused by preventable issues such as bad diet, lack of exercise, overweight and smoking.
Valvular Heart Disease
Valvular heart disease is a condition of the heart where there is damaged to your heart valves. There are many causes which can lead to valvular heart disease. If the disease is not inherent to you when you are born, the damage may because later on in life by different conditions such as disorders of your connective tissues, rheumatic fever, and infections in the heart such as infectious endocarditis.
Heart infections are often caused by irritants which can lead you to suffer from pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium), endocarditis (inflammation of the endocardium), or myocarditis (inflammation of the myocardium or heart muscle). The most common irritants that may cause such heart infections include bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other chemicals that may reach your heart’s muscle.
Heart arrhythmia is also one of the most common conditions of the heart that a person may suffer from. There are different causes of cardiac arrhythmia, some can be controlled while some are not. The uncontrolled causes of heart arrhythmia include congenital heart defects from the day a person is born, coronary artery disease, and valvular heart disease. Meanwhile, some causes of heart arrhythmia which you can easily take control over are high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, drug abuse, stress, excessive intake of alcohol or caffeine and over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements and herbal remedies.
If you are a healthy person with a normal and well-functioning heart, the fatal arrhythmia is unlikely to occur without an external factor such as illegal drug use or electric shock that may trigger the attack. But, if the heart has already some existing problems, diseases or deformation, the electrical impulses in the heart may find some problem and arrhythmias are likely to happen.
Congenital Heart Defects
Unfortunately, congenital heart defects usually start inside the womb, and the baby may carry it as he grows old. These defects develop during heart development while inside the mother’s womb about 4 weeks or a month after conception. It will change the blood flow in the heart of the baby. Heart defects may be caused by some medical conditions, medications taken by the mother, as well as genetic hereditary that may be passed on from one generation to another.
Heart defects may also happen in adults when the heart’s structure began to change due to aging which will cause certain heart deficiencies that may lead to major problems and heart diseases.
Cardiomyopathy is the thickening or enlarging of the heart muscle. What causes heart disease in cardiomyopathy often depends on its different types:
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy. The most common type of cardiomyopathy and usually the cause is unknown. However, a possible caused may be an ischemic heart disease wherein there is a decrease blood flow to the heart. Other causes may also include infections, drugs and other toxins. Family history also plays a role in the risk factors and causes of dilated cardiomyopathy development.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Just like most heart diseases, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is often inherited. This is a condition where the heart muscle becomes unusually thick and may also develop due to aging and untreated high blood pressure.
- Restrictive Cardiomyopathy. This is the least common type of all three cardiomyopathy cases. This can occur for no apparent reason which will result in heart muscle becoming rigid and less elastic. However, there is a possibility that it can be caused by other diseases such as hemochromatosis or the excessive build-up of iron in the body or connective tissue disorders. Cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy may also lead to the development of restrictive cardiomyopathy.
What Are The Different Ways To Help Decrease The Possibility Of Having Heart Disease?
Though some factors of heart diseases cannot be controlled such as heredity and underlying medical conditions, there are still ways where you can decrease the likelihood of having a heart disease.
- Consult Your Doctor Regularly. If you have an existing disease or at a high-risk to develop it due to family history, it is best if you consult your doctor regularly to monitor your condition and treat any disease at the soonest possible time.
- Take Medications And Supplements. There are vitamins and medications that your doctor may order you to take a maintenance drug or simply to boost your chances of not contracting the disease.
- Know What You Need To Know. Equip yourself with the knowledge of heart diseases from its early warning signs of possible complications and treatments so that you will be able to know how to handle it well.
- Lifestyle Change. Changing your lifestyle improves the chances of staying away from heart diseases. This means that you should:
- Eat healthy meals
- Have regular exercise
- Get into a healthy weight
- Stop smoking
- Drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation
- Decrease stress