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Leading Cause of Death in US

Sep 3, 2008
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing one person every 34 seconds. The term heart disease encompasses more than just one condition. It encompasses eight different conditions affecting the heart, all of which can be fatal.

Those eight conditions are coronary heart disease, cardiomyopathy, cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease, heart failure, hypertensive heart disease, inflammatory heart disease and valvular heart disease.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the failure of the coronary circulation to provide enough blood and oxygen to the cardiac muscle. This is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It is caused by the shrinking of the small blood vessels that provide blood and oxygen to the heart. This takes place when plague and fats build up on the artery walls, ultimately narrowing them. Certain factors that come into play for someone to suffer from CHD are age, diabetes, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity and even menopause. Treatments for patients with CHD include a coronary artery bypass surgery, exercise and dieting, quitting smoking and/or minimally invasive heart surgery.

Cardiomyopathy literally means heart muscle disease. Patients that suffer from cardiomyopathy are at risk for arrhythmia or sudden cardiac death because cardiomyopathy is the deterioration of the actual heart and its functions. Treatment for this condition includes a pacemaker, ventricular assist devices, defibrillators and medicine.

Cardiovascular disease involves the heart or blood vessels and is treated by cardiologists, neurologists and thoracic surgeons. This disease was the leading cause of death in the United States and Europe until 2005. This condition has to be prevented starting in childhood with proper eating habits and exercise. Avoiding smoking also helps to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Ischaemic heart disease is the reduced flow of blood supply to the organs due to coronary artery disease. It is usually diagnosed in people that smoke, are older in age, or are diabetic.

Heart failure is the result of the heart not being able to pump enough blood into itself or throughout the rest of the body. Most patients who suffer from heart failure will have shortness of breath when simply walking from point to point. This is due to the failure of the left ventricle which causes obstruction of the pulmonary capillaries.

Hypertensive heart disease includes a number of hypertensive complications that affects the heart. Symptoms are weight gain, fatigue, nausea, bloating, an irregular pulse or swelling of the feet.

Inflammatory heart disease is the inflammation of the heart muscle and the tissue surrounding it. There can be inflammation of the heart valves or inflammation of the muscular part of the heart.

Valvular heart disease involves one or more of the valves of the heart and problems with the valves can occur at birth or can be acquired throughout life due to other causes. Treatment of this condition is with medicine or replacement of the heart valves.

Heart disease, whichever condition a patient has, can be difficult to deal with but can be placed under control if detected early and treated properly.
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