Cardiovascular disease or heart disease contains a broad spectrum of conditions. The condition can range from diseases of the vessels (i.e. arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, etc.) to the diseases of the heart (i.e. heart failure, cardiomegaly, etc.). The symptoms vary from one condition to the other, depending on the causes.
The earliest signs of heart disease in the blood vessels are increased blood pressure and angina.
Increase in blood pressure is the compensating mechanism of the heart. The heart needs to increase the pumping action to overcome the block. Angina is chest pain; sharp pain is usually felt at the middle of the chest. If the pain felt in the middle part of the chest radiates to the arm and the jaw line, the pattern of the chest pain is the trademark sign of an imminent heart attack.
The pain felt at the chest is a sensation similar to having an elephant step on the chest. The crushing feeling is the strain of the heart to pump out the blood due to a block present in the arteries. The block has significantly reduced the available space for the blood to pass through. Depending on the location of the block, the person may either experience a stroke or a heart attack. A complete block found in the blood vessels of the brain will result into a stroke. If one of the vessels of the heart is completely blocked, a heart attack will occur.
Other signs of heart disease include shortness of breath, tachycardia, and cardiomegaly. Presence of any obstruction in the arteries causes the heart to exert more effort to pump out blood to the different organs of the body. Consequently, tachycardia- a condition wherein the heart rate is above the normal range- occurs as evidence of the heart struggling to pump efficiently. The heart is a vital organ made out of muscles.
Consistent strength training increases the muscle mass. An increase in muscle mass brings about many benefits, such as increased strength and controlled weight. However, the scenario cannot be applied to the heart. Due to the prolonged exertion, the walls of the heart become enlarged; this is a condition called cardiomegaly. The spaces of the ventricles become smaller due to the increased muscle mass. As a result, the ventricles pump smaller volume of blood. The person may then experience shortness of breath because the heart is unable to deliver sufficient oxygenated blood to the cells of the body. When organs of the body are unable to receive the acceptable levels of oxygen- especially the brain- the person may feel faintness.
Late signs of heart disease include edema, cyanosis, and arrhythmias. When the heart is no longer able to pump oxygenated blood effectively, cells of the body no longer receive the minimum amount of oxygen. Bluish discoloration may be seen on the nails beds of the affected person; this condition is called cyanosis. If the block has covered more than 50% of the artery- and the heart is no longer able to produce a greater pressure- blood starts to pool in the lower regions of the body such as the legs. Swelling, or edema, is already a symptom of congestive heart failure. At this point, there are irregularities in the rhythm of the heart.
It is imperative to know the early signs of heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is treated easily during the early stages. Once the heart has been compromised, it is almost impossible to return the heart to its previous state. Early detection and prevention are the best ways in fighting the signs of heart disease.
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