|Also known as CVD, cardiovascular disease is a term that refers to several different conditions related to the heart, its functioning, and the functioning of the blood vessels that supply the heart. According to the American Heart Association, diseases of the heart and blood vessels are all included in the condition commonly known as “cardiovascular disease.” You may often find the terms “heart disease” and “cardiovascular disease” used interchangeably.|
Types of Cardiovascular Disease
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) – Often, this form of cardiovascular disease is brought on by a condition called atherosclerosis. This occurs when fatty deposits of plaque build up on the artery walls, making it difficult for blood to pass through. This plaque comes from high cholesterol. In many cases, a heart attack can result. You may have heard the term “hardening of the arteries.” This is known as arteriosclerosis, and it is one form of atherosclerosis.
Heart Attack – If a blood clot should form and gets stuck in an artery, a heart attack can occur. Essentially, heart attacks are caused by the blockage of blood flow to the heart.
Ischemic Stroke – This is the most common type of stroke. It is similar to a heart attack in that it is caused by a blood clot, but in a stroke, blood flow to a part of the brain rather than the heart is blocked.
Heart Failure – This doesn’t mean the heart stops working. Instead, it means the heart is not pumping blood as efficiently as it needs to and that parts of the body are not receiving the blood that they need in order to function well.
Arrhythmia – A diagnosis of arrhythmia can result when the heart is found to beat too fast, too slow, or in an irregular pattern. Having an arrhythmia can result in the heart not being able to pump enough blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to all areas of the body.
Heart Valve Problems – Sometimes heart valves don’t open wide enough to allow blood to flow through. Sometimes they don’t close properly, and blood leaks back in the wrong direction. In some cases, heart valve problems are present at birth, but they can also develop as a result of damage from a certain type of infection, or rheumatic fever.
What Causes Cardiovascular Disease?
Some causes of cardiovascular disease can’t be prevented, such as aging, gender (men have a more significant risk of heart attack), and heredity. Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to suffer from it themselves.
| According to the Mayo Clinic, atherosclerosis – plaque build-up in the arteries caused by cholesterol – is the most preventable, common cause of cardiovascular disease. |
The top causes of atherosclerosis are
- Unhealthy diet
- Lack of exercise
- Being overweight
What Can I Do to Help Prevent or Minimize the Effects of Cardiovascular Disease?
In addition to getting at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days each week and stopping smoking, changing the foods you eat can play a major role in avoiding cardiovascular problems.
Healthcare professionals recommend diets full of unprocessed foods that are low in salt, sugar and trans fats. Try eating whole grain wheat bread instead of white. Opt for the side dish of fruit rather than French Fries. Five foods recommended by the Mayo Clinic for a heart-healthy diet include the following.
In addition, a heaping teaspoonful of Konsyl Original psyllium fiber provides 3 grams of soluble fiber. Try a teaspoon mixed into oatmeal in the morning, and another in some sugar free pudding after dinner. See all our healthy fiber recipes.
- Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna
- Walnuts, almonds and other nuts
- Olive oil
- Foods with added plant stanols or sterols