As we all know, heart disease and its complications are the leading cause of death worldwide. Any disorder in the heart and/or blood vessels is referred to as heart disease. Hence, the term encompasses many medical conditions like coronary artery disease, congenital heart defects, problems in the heart rhythm (arrhythmias), heart attack, angina, cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), and stroke.
Effects on the Body
In order to understand as to how heart disease affects the body, it is very essential to get a better idea about the functioning of the circulatory system and the role of the heart. The circulatory system (cardiovascular system) which is made up of blood, heart, and blood vessels is responsible for supplying oxygenated blood and nutrients to all parts of the body.
◆ The oxygen and nutrients that are delivered to the body cells and tissues help in the normal functioning of the body; to be precise, they are essential for survival. Any disorder and/or defect in the circulatory system, which is more or less related to heart disease, can affect the overall metabolism of the body.
◆ Coronary heart disease or arteriosclerosis is a condition in which there is formation of plaque in the arterial walls. The ultimate result is narrowing or blocking of the blood vessels, wherever the plaques are present.
◆ If plaque is formed in blood vessels, that deliver blood to the brain, it can lead to stroke; whereas, in case of a narrowed blood vessel in the heart, it can lead to heart attack. In case of blockages in the kidney, it will affect the kidney. The potential outcomes may be elevated blood pressure, malfunctioning of the kidney, or even kidney failure. Arterial blockages in the intestinal area may cause problem in blood supply to the intestines.
◆ If blockage of arteries occur in the arms or legs, it is referred to as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). It may disturb the ability to move the arms or legs, which in turn, can lead to disability, gangrene, ulceration, and amputation (in severe cases). At times, these plaques can rupture, leading to the closure of the artery.
◆ Let's take another example of a woman, born with a congenital heart disease, a condition, whereby there is a defect in the heart structure or the large blood vessels of the circulatory system. In such a case, the woman can consider pregnancy, provided the potential risk factors for both the mother and baby are evaluated beforehand. Otherwise, there is a risk for maternal and/or fetal death during pregnancy.
This way, heart disease affects the overall functioning of the body. If an individual is diagnosed with the condition, it may cause stress and/or depression. Even though stress and heart disease are claimed to be interrelated, there is no clinical proof as to how stress can cause the latter. In order to avoid such a condition, it is imperative to reduce or eliminate the risk factors altogether―smoking, high total cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, physical inactivity, excess weight, depression, social isolation.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.