The heart is a pump, and its purpose is to send oxygenated blood throughout the body. It’s divided into the right and left half to keep the oxygenated blood from mixing with oxygen-deficient blood. Of course, without a healthy heart, we can’t go on living. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one person dies every 37 seconds in the U.S. from heart disease. It is the leading cause of death among men and women, claiming 647,000 deaths annually. With numbers like that, it is important to know the causes of heart disease, so you can stay healthy and avoid being part of this statistic.
Bad Habits to Avoid
There are things in the world that cause heart disease that are avoidable, yet people do them anyway. Self-destructive behaviors contribute to heart disease when people know the risks but continue to do what they’re doing. Things such as smoking, drug addiction, excessive caffeine consumption, and being overweight are all man-made problems. As such, making some changes in your lifestyle can reduce the risk of heart disease dramatically. Thankfully, educational programs about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are working to curtail the use of these substances among the youth. However, the older generation could use some education as well.
Congenital heart defects develop while a baby is still in the womb. They can develop a month or so after birth, changing the flow of blood in the heart. Some medical conditions, genes, and medications have been known to play a role in causing heart defects. This kind of heart disease isn’t limited to babies, however; they can develop in adults too. As we age, the structure of the heart can change and lead to defects. Cardiomyopathy is one such disease that develops later in life. It is a thickening of the heart muscle.
Fighting Heart Disease
Doctors have many weapons to help in the fight against heart disease. They can prescribe medications to lower blood pressure and conduct echocardiograms to examine the heart and check for problems. Before doctors can help, individuals need to help themselves by quitting smoking, getting in better shape, avoiding fatty foods, and taking better care of themselves and eliminating the causes of heart disease.