Medically reviewed by
Dr. Anil Om
McLeod Cardiology Associates
The term heart disease covers a wide range of heart and blood vessel problems – enough problems to make heart disease the leading cause of death. (The links below will explain more about each of these common problems.)
“One of the most common problems we see is coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease,” says McLeod Cardiologist Dr. Anil Om. “As plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the flow of blood to the heart muscle becomes limited. If the artery becomes totally blocked it can lead to another type of heart disease, a heart attack. If a piece of the plaque breaks off and flows to the brain, a stroke occurs. Some people refer to a stroke as a heart attack of the brain. Valves control the flow of blood in and out of the beating heart. Faulty heart valves can trigger fatigue, shortness of breath and swelling in legs or feet.”
Now, two more facts you should know.
One study of 131,000 heart patients revealed that women and anyone younger than 45 are more likely to be under-treated, compared to men and older people. Women are more focused on their family than their own health, often leading to a delay in seeking medical help for themselves. And younger people are likely to believe that heart problems don’t hit people in their age group, putting off seeking care.
Now, get a grip on this. Family history of heart problems is among many risk factors for heart disease. Researchers have discovered that people with a genetic risk of heart disease, who have a strong grip, have a significantly lower risk of heart disease or atrial fibrillation than people with a weak grip. It’s not as strange as you might think. A stronger grip indicates a person, who generally has a higher fitness level than someone who doesn’t. This is just another way of saying that you can lower your risk of heart disease by exercising and staying fit.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
Sources include: McLeod Health, American Heart Association, UK Biobank Study, World Heart Federation