February is National Heart Month and, as such, we here at Covalent would like to shine a spotlight on some of the most common and most fatal of heart diseases.
Heart diseases, also known as cardiovascular diseases, deal with the heart and the blood vessels (vascular diseases deal only with the blood vessels) and are one of the leading causes of death in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one person dies every 37 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease and about 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
Types of Heart Disease
There are many types of heart disease, but this is a short list of the most common and/or the most life threatening:
- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle due to build-up of plaque in the arteries of the heart.
- Cerebrovascular Disease is a disease of blood vessels that supply blood to the brain – includes stroke.
- Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the cardiac muscle, causing it to become enlarged, thick, or stiff and thus making it more difficult for blood to circulate.
- Congenital Heart Disease is heart structure malformations existing at birth that can range from the walls of the heart, the valves of the heart, or the arteries and veins near the heart.
- Pulmonary Heart Disease is a failure on the right side of the heart with respiratory system involvement.
- Heart Failure is a clinical and often chronic syndrome caused by the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood to the tissues to meet their metabolic requirements. Note that this is a different condition than a Heart Attack – blood flow to the heart is blocked, often by a blood clot or a buildup of plaque in the arteries – or Cardiac Arrest – an electrical problem triggered by a disruption of the heart’s rhythm where the heart stops beating and needs to be restarted.
Some heart diseases and conditions can’t be prevented – such as heart defects – but the risk of developing or exacerbating other heart issues can be greatly reduced by adopting healthier lifestyle practices. Some of those include but are not limited to:
- Quit or greatly reduce tobacco and alcohol consumption
- Commit to a low-sodium, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week
- Manage other conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
Covalent Health and all its subsidiary EMS providers across the nation are trained and certified to identify and treat all types of heart conditions. We are proud to know that our EMTs and paramedics are equipped to handle unexpected cardiac situations that their patients go through – sometimes even being responsible for saving their patient’s life.