Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are classically described as either “ischemic” or “hemorrhagic”. The term “ischemic” describes a category of diseases in which blood supply is obstructed. A narrowing of the blood vessels (arteries) prevents oxygen-rich blood to the heart, brain, and other organs. If the obstruction is severe, cellular death occurs within the affected region due to a lack of oxygen. Death is prevented if blood flow is re-established before irreversible damage (infarct) appears. If a re-establishment of blood flow does not occur, then the dead tissue will be replaced by scar tissue, a process known as “fibrosis”.
The term “hemorrhagic” refers to an uncontrolled rupturing of the walls of a blood vessel, usually due to disease but sometimes due to traumatic injury. Bleeding can occur, either into the substance of an organ or away from it. In a hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding occurs within the brain, destroying brain tissue. In contrast, there is no bleeding in an ischemic stroke, but tissue destruction occurs because of a lack of oxygen supply.
Types of Cardiovascular Diseases
Many cardiovascular diseases are often called “cardiac diseases” in general or heart diseases in other languages. Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity (illness) and mortality (death). Heart attacks and strokes are examples of common acute cardiovascular disease. They can lead to death or disability. Degenerative cardiovascular diseases – coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease – are the leading causes of chronic cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular diseases mainly affect blood vessels and are often associated with underlying conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or dyslipidemia (abnormal fat levels in the blood). The particular disease affecting the cardiovascular system may also be due to various factors such as diet, environmental influences, genetics and lifestyle.
Progression Rate of Cardiovascular Diseases
The progression rate of cardiovascular diseases makes them a leading cause of death worldwide. 17.3 million people die of CVDs, accounting for 30% of all deaths globally. In the United States, 1 out of 3 deaths is caused by cardiovascular disease. While many types of cardiovascular disease are known for sudden onset and rapid progression—such as myocardial infarction—others have slow progression with symptoms so mild they go unnoticed until advanced stages.
In some diseases, such as heart failure, no signs are known. The main risk factors include age, family history of CVD, sex, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol level) and diabetes mellitus. Secondary forms of cardiovascular disease are due to other medical conditions that can affect the heart and blood vessels. Examples include sleep apnea and valvular disease. The most common causes of cardiovascular disease with a high risk of death are submassive pulmonary embolism (15% of cases), ischemic stroke, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease and acute myocardial infarction.
Treatment for Cardiovascular Diseases
Treatment is mainly done to prevent further worsening of the condition or improve quality of life. The first step in treatment is to diagnose the illness to locate the most suitable treatment for each case. The main aim of cardiovascular treatment is to prevent or delay the onset of heart attacks and strokes.
Medical therapy can also benefit other parts of the body, such as treating peripheral arterial disease. In some cases, medical treatment can be beneficial even if it results merely in a better quality of life, particularly in people with severe heart failure. In other cases, medical therapy may be detrimental to the patient’s quality of life.
The cardiologist at Concierge Consultants & Cardiology Fort Lauderdale is well-versed in the latest medical procedures and treatments. Concierge services help patients make appointments, assist with billing and scheduling, facilitate transportation to and from their doctor’s office, as well as provide other valuable services to help patients make their lives easier while they focus on getting better.