Unfortunately, heart disease is still among the top 3 killers in the United States.
The diseases of the heart include: coronary heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, heart valve disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, pericardial disease, marfan syndrome, and vascular disease.
All of these diseases affect the structure or function of the heart. Here we look at some of the diseases, including coronary heart disease (the one that most people think of when they think of diseases of the heart), and what causes heart disease of different kinds.
Congenital heart disease is a type of birth defect affecting approximately 500,000 adults in the United States. These defects may be minor requiring no treatment at all or more serious, requiring surgery and/or lifelong monitoring and medications.
Factors believed to be included in what causes heart disease of this type includes genetics, chromosomal abnormalities, drug use, alcohol use and the use of certain medications during pregnancy. Viral infections in the mother during the early stages of pregnancy can also lead to congenital diseases of the heart.
Heart failure is one disease that can be caused by other diseases of the heart including coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathy. Other conditions that cause damage to the heart muscle, such as high blood pressure, thyroid disease, kidney disease and diabetes, alone or in combination with other conditions, may be what causes heart disease known as heart failure.
The term heart failure is confusing to many people and can be a very scary diagnosis to hear from the doctor. It does not mean that the heart has stopped working, but that its pumping power is weaker than normal. According to the American Heart Association, those who suffer from heart failure can lead full active lives by paying close attention to diet, exercising moderately and following their doctor’s recommendations. Controlling other risk factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes is also important.
Cardiomyopathy or heart muscle disease is one of the progressive diseases of the heart. As this disease progresses, the heart becomes enlarged, thicker and stiffer, weakening its ability to pump blood, causing blood to back up into the lungs and/or the rest of the body. What causes heart disease of this type includes coronary artery disease, thyroid disease, alcoholism, diabetes, congenital heart disease and viral infections of the heart. In addition, cardiomyopathy may be inherited, caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure or simply age.
Abnormal heart rhythms may be harmless, a result of too much caffeine, nicotine or excessive exercising. Or they may be a symptom of coronary heart disease or other diseases of the heart. Thus treatment depends on the cause.
The diseases of the heart can be broken down into two very simple categories: those which are related to, caused by, or a symptom of coronary artery disease and those that are not.
Heart failure, cardiomyopathy, certain types of heart valve disease, pericardial disease and vascular disease fall into the first category. Congenital diseases of the heart, marfan syndrome and other inherited conditions fall into the second group.
This is also similar to the way that experts look at what causes heart disease: those things that can be controlled and those things that cannot. It is believed that coronary artery disease can be prevented and even reversed with proper treatment, dietary changes, exercise, and control of blood sugar, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels. In addition, certain dietary supplements including antioxidants, B-vitamins and folic acid appear to be helpful.
Coronary artery disease is a condition in which a build-up of plaque inside the blood vessels leading to the heart reduces blood flow to the heart, causing blood vessels to initially increase in size and eventually to lose elasticity. In some cases, new blood vessels form to bypass the obstruction and carry more blood to the heart.
However, the new blood vessels are weaker and sometimes collapse or burst. When the obstruction becomes so large that it blocks the flow of blood completely a heart attack occurs. In many cases, people are unaware that they have coronary artery disease, until they have a heart attack.
What causes heart disease of this type is the topic of some debate. Doctors, researchers and scientists know that there are certain risk factors. That is to say that some people are more likely to develop coronary artery disease than others. The debate concerns why the plaque begins to build up in the first place.
It is believed that diet plays the biggest role, with high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol being at the top of the list. Research has shown that plaque buildup begins in early childhood, as early as 5 years of age, and is composed of an inflammatory accumulation of white blood cells. This indicates that the immune system is responding to an irritation of the lining of the blood vessels believed to be caused by LDL cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, binds to LDL cholesterol, removes it from the blood stream and from the plaque deposits. Studies have shown that increased concentrations of HDL cholesterol in the blood stream can reduce the size of the plaque deposits and effectively reverse the diseases of the heart that affect the coronary arteries.
The role of inflammation in coronary artery disease has only recently been identified and most information about the disease still refers to the arterial plaques as fatty deposits, which can be misleading. Cholesterol is a steroidal chemical that is found in fatty tissue, but is not simply fat. It is possible that in order to simplify discussions about what causes heart disease of this type, the simple word fat is used, rather than explaining the difference between total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and fat.
A number of dietary supplements may be recommended for use by those who suffer from diseases of the heart. Among these is mangosteen juice which contains natural anti-inflammatory components, necessary B-vitamins, folic acid and a large number of different antioxidants that provide a number of health benefits.
Some scientific research, historical use and patient reports have indicated that drinking mangosteen juice on a regular basis may help to control blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and reduces inflammation.
What causes heart disease in many cases appears to be improper diet and lack of exercise. While mangosteen use cannot control these things for you, when used as a supplement to proper diet and regular exercise, it may help reduce your risk of developing diseases of the heart some medical experts believe.