Understanding Heart Diseases: A Modern Healthcare Challenge

14-3-2024

Fani-Christina Papacharalampous

Heart diseases, otherwise known as cardiovascular diseases CVDs), have emerged as a significant health challenge in today’s world (1). According to the World Health Organization, heart diseases account for approximately 17.9 million deaths annually, positioning them as the leading cause of mortality globally (2).

The term ‘heart diseases’ includes a wide variety of conditions affecting the heart’s structure and function (3). These comprise coronary artery disease, heart failure, valvular heart diseases, congenital heart disease, and arrhythmias (4).

Coronary artery disease (CAD), the most prevalent type of heart disease, arises when the arteries supplying blood to the heart narrow or become blocked due to the buildup of fatty plaques, a condition known as atherosclerosis (5). Over time, these plaques can harden or rupture, significantly reducing blood flow to the heart muscle. This can lead to symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath, or in severe cases, a heart attack (6).

Heart diseases are influenced by a complex interplay of risk factors. Non- modifiable factors include age, sex, and genetics, while modifiable risk factors encompass unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and chronic stress. Other contributing factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes (7).

Prevention plays a crucial role in mitigating the risk of heart diseases. Evidence suggests that adopting a healthier lifestyle can significantly lower these risks (8). Key components of a heart-healthy lifestyle include regular physical activity, a balanced diet low in saturated and trans fats, cessation of smoking, and limiting alcohol intake (9).

Treatment of heart diseases typically involves a combination of lifestyle modifications, medication, and in some cases, surgical interventions. Common treatments include cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, anticoagulants, and procedures such as angioplasty, bypass surgery, and pacemaker implantation (10).

Despite the global burden of heart diseases, advancements in medical research and technology offer hope for the future. Developments such as minimally invasive surgical techniques, novel drug therapies, improved diagnostic tools, and the promising field of regenerative medicine all suggest potential progress in the treatment and prevention of heart diseases (11). Nevertheless, increased public awareness and education about heart diseases and their risk factors remain a cornerstone of our fight against this major health threat (12).

Βιβλιογραφικές πηγές:

1. Roth GA, Johnson C, Abate KH, et al. Global, regional, and national burden of cardiovascular diseases for 10 causes, 1990 to 2017. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2020;76(1):77-95.
2. World Health Organization. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) fact sheet. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2022.
3. Virani SS, Alonso A, Benjamin EJ, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics— 2020 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2020;141(9):e139-e596.
4. Lloyd-Jones DM, Hong Y, Labarthe D, et al. Defining and setting national goals for cardiovascular health promotion and disease reduction: the American Heart Association’s strategic Impact Goal through 2020 and beyond. Circulation. 2010;121(4):586-613.
5. Libby P, Buring JE, Badimon L, et al. Atherosclerosis. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2019;5(1):56.
6. Braunwald E. Coronary blood flow and myocardial ischemia. In: Braunwald’s Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 2019:1142-1155.
7. Yusuf S, Hawken S, Ounpuu S, et al. Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study): case-control study. Lancet. 2004;364(9438):937-52.
8. Chiuve SE, Rexrode KM, Spiegelman D, et al. Primary prevention of stroke by healthy lifestyle. Circulation. 2008;118(9):947-54.
Heart Diseases 2
9. Eckel RH, Jakicic JM, Ard JD, et al. 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2014;129(25 Suppl 2):S76-99.
10. Nabel EG, Braunwald E. A tale of coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med. 2012;366(1):54-63.
11. Fuster V, Kelly BB, Vedanthan R. Promoting global cardiovascular health: moving forward. Circulation. 2011;123(15):1671-8.
12. Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics— 2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2015;131(4):e29-322.

Κοινοποιήστε 

Νευροϊνομάτωση Τύπου 1 VS Τύπου 2: μία γενετική και κλινική σύγκριση

Νευροϊνομάτωση Τύπου 1 VS Τύπου 2: μία γενετική και κλινική σύγκριση

Νευροϊνομάτωση χαρακτηρίζεται η γενετική διαταραχή που επηρεάζει κυρίως το νευρικό σύστημα και το δέρμα, λόγω μεταλλάξεων σε γονίδια που κωδικοποιούν πρωτεΐνες που ελέγχουν τον κυτταρικό πολλαπλασιασμό.

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