Cardiovascular diseases are, as the name implies, dysfunctions of the heart and also the blood vessels. Unlike common belief, there are many different types of heart conditions, not only one in particular. These heart conditions can be related to your coronary arteries, your rheumatic fever valve, and they can also be a cerebrovascular disease or even other illnesses.
We must start by clarifying that because to identify the risk factors for heart disease, we must be aware of the complexity of this indispensable muscle and how heart diseases take a devastating toll on the percentage of deaths worldwide. 31% of the deaths within our population relate to heart conditions. We are talking about almost 18 million people every year.
Before we go any further, though, it’s essential also to clarify that heart failure isn’t a diagnosis itself. These types of heart problems also occur because of some habits we have. They are usually associated with obesity, smoking, alcoholism, and diabetes and can affect the way your heart pumps blood. So it’s fundamental that you see a doctor regularly, that you have a healthy weight; if you’re a smoker, quit smoking now; that you improve your cholesterol, and manage your diabetes properly.
Now that all is clearer, you ask: what are the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease? To which symptoms must you pay attention to avoid the chances of a heart attack? We prepared a list of 8 heart symptoms you shouldn’t ignore if you want to decrease the risk of heart disease.
#1 – Having high blood pressure
Suffering from high blood pressure increases the cardiovascular disease risk factor tremendously. Hypertension can be linked to many factors like that go from salt intake in food to a sedentary lifestyle.
There aren’t many observable symptoms for this condition, and you might have it without even realizing it. That’s why you must see a doctor regularly.
In this situation, your heart is forced to pump harder, and it caves when it no longer can keep pace. A healthy diet and regular exercising, cutting smoking and alcohol, losing weight and sleeping well are usually the recommendations to try to tackle it.
#2 – Suffering from coronary artery disease
One of the heart attack risk factors of this list is, of course, suffering from a heart condition. What happens when you suffer from this illness is that the coronary arteries that supply your heart with blood, air, and nutrients get damaged and can’t do their work correctly. Usually, cholesterol is to blame for this condition.
Other risk factors for coronary heart disease are the same as usual: smoking, having high cholesterol, diabetes, lack of physical activity and high blood pressure.
#3 – A previous heart attack
This one comes without saying, but you are more prone to have heart failure if you have experienced a heart attack before.
A heart attack happens when the arteries are blocked. That prevents oxygen from reaching your heart, leaving it damaged. The result of this is a damaged muscle that is predisposed to repeat all this.
Chest pain or pain in other parts of the body, sweating and dizziness, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and coughing are some of the symptoms of a heart attack.
#4 – Cardiomyopathy
Another one of the heart attack risk factors is suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy. But what is exactly cardiomyopathy? It’s when the muscle that you have in the walls of your hearts become too fragile.
The symptoms you may feel if you suffer from this are shortness of breathing, constant and severe fatigue, and ankle joints inflamed.
The causes are the usual, but there are other players to consider such as pregnancy and viral diseases that can also cause your muscle heart walls to suffer.
#5 – Congenital or degenerative hearth conditions
The risk of cardiovascular disease is aggravated when you are born with heart valves problems or overtime with the damages of aging.
Early signs of heart disease for people suffering from congenital heart conditions are easily identified: they include a fast heart and the breathing rhythm, cyanosis, fatigue, and swelling.
If you suffer for any of these conditions, it’s important that you keep your visits to your cardiologist frequent and make the recommended necessary changes in your lifestyle.
#6 – Infections in heart valves
Also called endocarditis, this symptom is rare, but it can put your life at risk. It’s called endocarditis because it’s an infection of a specific part of the heart: the endocardium.
The symptoms of this disease, since we are talking about infection, are slightly different from the previous ones.
They include fever, headache, and muscular pain. This is a serious condition that can only be treated once you’re admitted to the hospital. Antibiotics are usually prescribed.
#7 – Chemotherapy
When people ask us what are the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, one of the most difficult ones to talk about is number seven on our list.
Chemotherapy is a treatment that due to the growing prevalence of cancer in our society, is more and more common each day. Among the many known side effects of this treatment is the potential cause of heart failure.
Of course, this also depends on how healthy your heart is before you start the procedure.
Usually, before doing chemotherapy, heart exams are prescribed to monitor your heart and check on your heart condition. You are, of course, also monitored during all the procedures, and your cardiologist is posted of all the activities during the treatment.
#8 – Cardiomyopathy due to alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol intake is a problematic issue in our society. It poisons all your body, and it can also damage your heart. Heavy drinking, in the long run, can increase the risk of having heart problems.
It increases blood pressure and weakens the muscles in your heart, and it’s also linked with overweight.
That’s why when people ask us, “what is the first sign of heart failure?” we tend to say that most of them start in the choices we make daily.