What is cardiovascular disease?
1. Coronary heart disease:
This is one of the most talked-about CVD. The disease is caused by a limited blood flow from the vessels that supply the oxygen to the heart. Atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries caused the arteries at the heart to be narrowed or blocked; its long term consequence leads to chest pain and/or heart attacks.
2. Cerebrovascular disease:
This disease is caused by the occlusion of blood vessels that supply the brain. The blockage can cause damage to neuro tissue and present dementia symptoms. Stroke can be caused due to blood vessel blockage, it can also be caused by bleeding of the blood vessels or blood clots formed in the brain.
3. Peripheral arterial disease:
This disease is caused due to restricted blood flow that impacts the vessels supplying the arms and legs. The disease is the main cause of claudication, or pain in the legs when doing normal physical activities such as walking and taking the stairs.
4. Rheumatic heart disease:
Rheumatic heart disease is the damage to the heart valves from rheumatic fever which is caused by streptococcal bacterial infections resulting in inflammation of the heart. The damages caused to the heart valves disrupts the blood flow, the heart valves create a backflow of blood thus greatly impacts heart function.
5. Congenital heart disease:
Congenital heart disease indicates malformation of heart structure including heart valves and chambers that were present since at birth. It can include defects in the chambers, valves, walls or blood vessels of the heart. There are many types of congenital heart disease, and it can range from minor illness to serious complications that require surgical treatments.
All these conditions mentioned above are on-going and greatly impact your heart's ability to function properly to meet the demands of your body. To have better confidence when living with CVD, understanding the cause and symptoms is a great first step towards better self-care.
Lucy Chu is a graduate of the University of Toronto and is currently studying at the University of Waterloo as a Master of Health Evaluation Candidate. She works closely with world-renowned cardiologists as a clinical researcher at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre of Toronto General Hospital specializing in clinical investigation towards advancing the standard of care for heart failure patients. Additionally, Lucy’s past work at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has driven her interest in NCDs prevention through personal patient interactions and first-hand experiences.