The term “cardiovascular health” refers to the health of your heart and all your blood vessels.
Heart and blood vessel conditions can cause cardiovascular disease, also known as heart disease.
The risk factors for cardiovascular diseases may be inherited, but many can be prevented or controlled. Several risks associated with cardiovascular disease are smoking or other tobacco use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Also known as ischemic heart disease or coronary heart disease (CHD), heart disease refers to the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries that could lead to a heart attack, heart failure, or death.
Heart disease is the 2nd leading cause of death in Canada.
Heart arrhythmias occur when the heart beats too rapidly, too slowly, or irregularly.
The heart’s electrical system controls its rhythm and allows it to beat. A malfunction of the electrical system causes arrhythmias.
The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation or AF.
Coronary artery disease is a common heart condition. The major blood vessels that supply the heart (coronary arteries) struggle to send enough blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. Cholesterol deposits (plaques) in the heart arteries and inflammation are usually the cause of coronary artery disease.
Signs and symptoms of coronary artery disease occur when the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. If you have coronary artery disease, reduced blood flow to the heart can cause chest pain (angina) and shortness of breath. A complete blockage of blood flow can cause a heart attack.
Coronary artery disease often develops over decades. Symptoms may go unnoticed until a significant blockage causes problems or a heart attack occurs. Following a heart-healthy lifestyle can help prevent coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery disease may also be called coronary heart disease.
Heart attacks occur when parts of the heart are not getting enough blood.
An artery of the heart suddenly closes due to plaque, made up of fats, calcium, and cholesterol that has built up over time. A blood clot (thickened blood) can also block your arteries, which supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to your heart and the rest of your body. When the artery closes, the supply to the heart suddenly decreases. This lack of oxygen causes damage to the heart.
Emergency medical care is needed immediately in these cases.
The longer the heart goes without proper blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart.
Heart failure, or congestive heart failure, occurs when your heart cannot pump enough blood to deliver oxygen to other organs. It doesn’t mean that your heart has completely stopped beating or that it is about to stop working.
A weak heart has a reduced ability to pump blood. Blood and fluid can back up into the lungs, and fluid can build up in the legs, ankles, and feet, causing swelling and fatigue.