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Understanding Cardiovascular Diseases

The term “cardiovascular diseases” means diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Also included are conditions not caused by pathogens. Heart diseases and disorders include arteriosclerosis, varicose veins, thrombosis and congenital heart defects such as murmur of the heart and blue baby condition.

Arteriosclerosis is a heart disease resulting from continuous deposition of cholesterol in the inner wall of arteries. This makes the artery walls to lose their flexibility, inhibiting efficient flow of blood through the artery. In most cases arteriosclerosis occurs in the coronary artery. The resultant effect is that the heart muscles fail to receive oxygen and nutrients necessary for efficient functioning. Gone unchecked, arteriosclerosis can lead to a heart attack. However, it can be detected early through regular checkups.Symptoms include pain in the left side of the chest, high blood pressure, panting and getting tired quickly. Arteriosclerosis can be prevented by avoiding smoking, doing physical exercises and by eating the minimum possible quantities of food with cholesterol. It can be treated using bypass surgery or angioplasty.

Varicose veins are knotted veins in legs. Varicose veins are mostly found in the elderly and pregnant mothers. The valves in veins malfunction and thus blood is retained in the veins. This makes the veins look big and knotted. The symptoms of varicose veins include slow movement of feet and pain. Varicose veins are rarely life-threatening. It can be controlled by healthy dietary habits, abstinence from smoking and regular physical exercises. Faulty valves can also be replaced with artificial valves as a way of controlling varicose veins.

Congenital heart defects are defects with which a baby is born. Murmur of the heart is caused by the failure of cusped valves to close properly. This causes a back flow of blood into the atria when the ventricles contract. This causes a murmur-like sound to be heard from the chest region. It can be rectified by replacing the weak valves with artificial valves. Blue baby condition is caused by the failure of the foramen ovale and ducts arteriorus to close after birth. The foramen ovale is an opening between the left and the right side of the heart of an unborn child. The ductus arteriorus is a channel connecting the aorta and pulmonary artery in fetuses. The openings exist because the blood of a fetus does not go to the lungs for oxygenation. When the ducts fail to close in babies, oxygenated blood mixes with deoxygenated blood making the skin color of the baby to look blue. The condition can be treated by surgically sealing the openings.

Thrombosis is caused by the formation of clots in arteries. This may be caused by injuries in the artery or by the accidental activation of thrombocytes. The clots block arteries, preventing the flow of blood to some body organs. Symptoms include pain in the chest, increased rate of heartbeat and malfunction of the affected organs or tissues. Thrombosis can be prevented by doing regular physical exercises. It can be treated by surgically removing the clot or by bypass surgery.

Cardiovascular diseases can lead to premature death if left unchecked. Parkway Heart and Vascular Centre provides risk screening for cardiovascular disease.

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