Home » Atherosclerosis » Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital Heart Disease

Heart disease is a term for any type of disorder that affects the heart. Every year in the US heart disease claims 800,000 people. That’s 34% of all deaths and 2,400 people every day. 80 million (one in three) Americans live with this disease. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. Coronary artery disease is one type of disorder that affects the heart. It is the most common heart disease. Coronary artery disease, or simply CAD, is caused by the build up of plaque in the arteries.

When excessive amounts of plaque build up in your arteries, they become narrowed, consequently restricting blood flow to your heart and causing oxygen deprivation. Risk of blood clots and heart attacks is one affect of CAD. CAD is caused because the plaque makes the inner walls of your blood vessels sticky. Then, other things, like inflammatory cells, lipoproteins, and calcium, travel in your bloodstream and mix with the plaque. As more of these inflammatory cells join in, along with cholesterol, the plaque increases, both pushing the artery walls outward and growing inward.

That makes the vessels narrower. Eventually, a narrowed coronary artery may develop new blood vessels that go around the blockage to get blood to the heart. However, if you’re pushing yourself or stressed, the new arteries may not be able to bring enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart, resulting in heart failure or heart attack. (webmd. com) Congenital heart defect is another type of heart disease. Congenital heart disease is when your heart has a problem when you are born. Congenital heart defects can range from having a small hole in your heart to something super severe.

Although these can be very serious conditions, many can be treated with surgery. Doctors don’t always know why a baby has congenital heart defect. They tend to run in families. Problems with genes or chromosomes in the child, such as down syndrome; taking certain medications, or alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy; or having a viral infection like rubella in the mother in the first trimester of pregnancy, are all things that can cause Congenital heart disease. Most congenital heart problems are structural issues like holes and leaky valves.

Congenital heart defects include; heart valve defects; problems with the heart’s walls; issues with the heart’s muscle; and bad connections among blood vessels. (webmd. com) Rheumatic heart disease is a group of short-term (acute) and long-term (chronic) heart disorders that can occur as a result of rheumatic fever. One common result of rheumatic fever is heart valve damage. This damage to the heart valves may lead to a valve disorder. Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that may affect many connective tissues of the body, especially those of the heart, joints, brain or skin.

It usually starts out as a strep throat (streptococcal) infection. Anyone can get acute rheumatic fever, but it usually occurs in children between the ages of 5 and 15 years. About 60% of people with rheumatic fever develop some degree of subsequent heart disease. Every part of the heart, including the outer sac (the pericardium), the inner lining (the endocardium) and the valves can be damaged by inflammation caused by acute rheumatic fever. However, the most common form of rheumatic heart disease affects the heart valves, particularly the mitral valve.

It may take several years after an episode of rheumatic fever for valve damage to develop or symptoms to appear. Antibiotics can prevent streptococcal infection from developing into rheumatic fever. Penicillin or another antibiotic will usually prevent strep throat from developing into rheumatic fever. Symptoms of heart valve problems, which are often the result of rheumatic heart disease, can include: chest pain, excessive fatigue, heart palpitations (when the heart flutters or misses beats), a thumping sensation in the chest, shortness of breath, and swollen ankles, wrists or stomach.

If heart damage from rheumatic fever is identified in childhood or young adulthood, daily antibiotics are sometimes required until the age of 25 or 30, to help prevent recurrence of rheumatic fever and avoid the development of infective bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the heart valves or lining of the heart. Additional treatment will depend on the type of heart damage. (heartandstroke. ca) One of the causes of heart disease that can go unnoticed is stress. You could maintain a super healthy lifestyle, and consequently still be putting yourself at risk for heart disease just by being stressed.

Stress plays a key role in the promotion of heart disease. Even natural disasters such as earthquakes can create stress “ The Northridge earthquake that struck Los Angeles in 1994 was one of the strongest ever recorded in North America. There was a sharp increase in the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease immediately after this event, and the researchers postulated that emotional stress from the quake was the cause. Similar data was observed after a major earthquake in Japan. ”(John M. Kennedy, 8) Situations such as earthquakes have proven to us just how intertwined stress and heart disease are.

Worry, repressing your feelings and panicking are just a few more examples of stressful things that contribute to heart disease risk. Marital arguing patterns, for example, have been shown to be detrimental to cardiovascular health, particularly in women. The women who repressed their feelings of resentment and anger towards their husbands had a higher risk of heart attack than this who were more open and expressive of their feelings. Panic attacks were also recently found to be linked to the risk of heart attack.

In one study, the people who experienced at least one full-blown panic attack had a significantly increased risk of heart attack and stroke. (John M. Kennedy 8) Unhealthy lifestyles play a significant role in heart disease. Lifestyle refers to the way in which a person lives. Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure levels and the risk for heart disease. It also increases levels of triglycerides, a form of cholesterol, which can harden your arteries. According to cdc. gov women should not have more than 1 alcoholic drink a day.

Men should have no more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day. Tobacco use increases the risk for heart disease and heart attack. Cigarette smoking can damage the heart and blood vessels, which increases your risk for heart conditions such as atherosclerosis and heart attack. Also, nicotine raises blood pressure and carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry. exposure to other peoples secondhand smoke can increase the risk for heart disease even for nonsmokers. Eating well is key to maintaining a healthy heart.

Eating high cholesterol diets can be detrimental to your heart. High cholesterol diets cause plaque to build up in your arteries, possibly leading to CAD. Along with cholesterol, diets high in saturated fats and trans fat have been lined to heart disease and related conditions. Also, too much salt in the diet can raise blood pressure levels. Obesity is really hard on your heart. As your body mass index rises, so does your risk for coronary artery disease(CAD). Obesity can lead to angina(plaque build up), heart attack, and even heart failure.

If you’re overweight or obese your chances of having high blood pressure are greater. High blood pressure can cause your arteries to “harden”, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Obesity significantly increases your risk for many types of heart disease. Not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease. It also can increase the chances of having other medical conditions that are risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular physical activity can lower your risk for heart disease.

Exercising strengthens your heart, lowers your blood pressure, helps you maintain a healthy weight and burns off stress. Some exercises that will help your heart are walking, jogging, jump roping, biking, dancing and skating. According to dailymail. co. uk; not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, having at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, watching no more than 7 hours of TV a week, having a maximum of 1 drink a day, and maintaining a healthy diet, are the 7 things that will reduce your risk of heart disease by 75%.

There are variations in your risk for heart disease, depending on how old you are, what gender you are, and your ethnicity. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most ethnicities in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics, and whites. For American Indians or Alaska Natives and Asians or Pacific Islanders, heart disease is second only to cancer” (nhlbi. nih. gov). For example, African Americans are very likely to heart disease because of a genetic difference that predisposes blacks to high blood pressure, according to (health. arvard. edu). As you get older, your risk for CHD and heart attack rises.

This is due in part to the slow buildup of plaque inside your heart arteries, which can start during childhood. As you age your arteries become more stiff and blood has a harder time flowing through. Men age 45 or older and women age 55 or older are more likely to have a heart attack than are younger men and women. The map above shows how heart disease varies depending on where in the US you live. I find it really interesting how the levels of heart disease vary so diversely from state to state.

People with a higher heart disease risk tend to live in the Southeastern states, and people with a lower risk tend to live in Northwestern states. The southeastern states are tobacco producing states, and smoking is more common in the southeastern states than the rest of the US. The “southern” diet of fried chicken, fried vegetables, fried potatoes, and fried everything else may contribute to the problem. Southern states, often have higher rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease, which are risk factors for heart disease.

In the northwestern states, risk factors for heart disease are lower. Heart disease is a common and very fatal disease. It is the number one killer in the US! Heart disease isn’t as fatal as it seems because it refers to every type of heart disease, and there is at least 5 types of heart disease. By clumping all the types of heart disease together in statistics, it makes it seem as if heart disease is more fatal. Heart disease will always be a threat to Americans health. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle you can avoid it, and be the one out of three Americans who doesn’t get heart disease.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.